Friday 8 July 2016

at arm’s length or (personal) space invaders

Via the always brilliant Nag on the Lake, comes an excellent primer on the fascinating topic of proxemics, the study of the non-verbal narrative that is dictated by proximity and confines and is as culture specific and as richly limned as language.
First introduced as a branch of sociology by American anthropological researcher Edward T Hall in the mid-1960s, the research and received terminology not only was the compass for describing the circles that define an individual’s spheres of comfort for various interactions—territories from intimate to public and how that physical space is reflected in the virtual too—but also informs the surrounding (or underlying) architecture, hygiene and group norms. Just think how cubicles might effect on the job etiquette or the boundaries that are thrown up once we feel violated. These sorts of different nudges and cues, which beforehand went unarticulated, are pretty engrossing to think about. Find out more and see a video demonstration at the links above.