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Proxemics Sociology - Essay Example

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PROXEMICS Introduction Proxemics is concerned with the space surrounding individuals, and the differential access to it permitted by people of different cultures. Proxemics shows that even where we have to permit physical access by strangers to space close to us because of crowded urban conditions, psychologically we resist the notion of intimacy this closeness implies…
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Proxemics Sociology

Download file to see previous pages... (Brown1966). Intimate space, closest to the person is reserved only for the closest friends, relatives and intimate partners. Next social and consultative space may be accessed by less close friends and strangers such as business colleagues and other members of one’s community groups without causing discomfort to the individual. Finally those with interests perceived as only impersonal and anonymous, such as merchants and government administrators, are generally welcome only in the outer ring of what the person considers as their own personal space. Although Hall delineated dimensions for these “rings of space”, that is 1 ? to 4 feet for intimate, 4 to 12 feet for social and consultative and 12 or more for public, these varied depending on particular cultures. While the above dimensions applied to an individualistic, frontier, capitalistic society such as America, they were much less for the more traditional, socialistic and older settled nations of Europe. Proxemics as an Aspect of Nonverbal Communication and its’ Relation to Intercultural Communications Not only economically but also culturally we live in an increasingly populous and global world with people from many cultures intermingling. (Rosenbloom 2006). We communicate with each other not only verbally, but nonverbally by gestures, eye contact. touching and moving close or further away. The same behavior can have different meanings in different cultures. Through proxemics it is important to learn this so that the risk of conflict possibly even leading to violence can be reduced. For example showing a finger may be an insult in 1 culture but mean “you are number 1” in another. Men kissing each other would likely imply to us that they are gay but in other societies this is done by men merely as a friendly gesture without any implication of a gay sexual orientation. Most straight American men would be offended by such a kiss. While understanding proximecs by itself will not eliminate the potential for intercultural disharmony and conflict, it will reduce its’ likelihood due to assumptions because of misinterpretations of the motives for an actors behavior. Understanding proxemics fosters effective intercultural communications by showing that behaviors are largely culturally determined and should be understood in context rather than judged in terms of one’s own culture. Another Aspect of Nonverbal Communication Another aspect of nonverbal communication is that it can signal a wish or an invitation to enter someone’s perceived intimate space or indicate lack of interest in allowing this to happen. For example in Western culture at a dance a female will show a desire to come into the intimate space of a male partner by eye contact, smiling and holding him closer. If she is not interested she will hold him only at arm’s length. If the male is intuitive enough he can gauge how she will respond to a verbal invitation to pursue a relationship and lessen the risk of rejection. We may feel uncomfortable if a person is standing too close to us in a queue, but realizing they are doing nothing illegal we glare at them rather than say “you are standing too close to me”( Rosenbloom 2006). We tend to verbalize rejection only in clear cut cases when we feel our legal rights are violated or when nonverbal signals do not achieve the desired result How Proxemics Applies when ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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