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Cultural Proxemics

Proxemics, Personal Space, and Anglo/Latin American Space Perception

Nicholas Scholz

on 23 June 2011

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Transcript of Cultural Proxemics

“The body…is an expressive and sensual region open to
scrutiny, discipline, and sanction to the community; not to
be regulated by universal law as property, but by contextual
rule of interaction.”

Elizabeth Lozano “Achieving this heightened level of communication means going further than the articulation of words and connecting by relying on information that transcends the spoken language.”

Ricardo A. Lopez

Reliance on non-verbal communication throughout an interpersonal encounter. “Latinos are very emotional creatures; but that does not mean that the emotions are always verbalized. From the loud moaning of a man who just stubbed his toe, to the exaggerated screams of a mother whose child just took his first step, Latinos excel in the use of sound and facial expression to convey emotion. Latinos are also keen on physical affection. Hugs and kisses are normal in everyday interactions.”

-Ricardo A. Lopez Body and hand movement are elements of how Latinos communication with each other. “If you tie my hands, I’m unable to speak.”

-Agustin Diaz Use of non-verbal expression is a desire to close the gap in an interpersonal encounter.
Dance incorporates this specific cultural process in Latino culture. Scott J. South, Kyle Crowder, and Erick Chavez did research on spatial assimilation among U.S. Latinos and used studies on proximity as a major guide. They found that Puerto Ricans were less likely than Mexicans to move to neighborhoods with relatively large Anglo populations. Among Puerto Ricans and Cubans, darker skin color inhibits mobility into Anglo neighborhoods. The Cultural Experience of Space and Body: A Reading of Latin American and Anglo American Comportment in Public So why is this important?
It's in the little things..... The infuence of this cultural heritage, which has been present in The United States for more than a century, is going to have an ever growing infuence in the next few decades on the Anglo- American scene, as Hispanics become the largest ethnic and linguistic minority in the United States.

-Elizabeth Lozano In fact, cultural traditions within the United States could be thought of as voices in a polyphonic chorus which is always struggling between dissonance and harmony, attraction and contradiction.
-Elizabeth Lozano We DO have differing cultural norms regarding personal
space, even amongst Anglo-Americans
(or white people). "Contact
with another culture
is a form of activating
one's own culture, of reflecting
on it, making it visible and, therefore,
"unnatural." It also allows one to
understand the social and cultural
ways in which diverse cultures
intersect, overlap, and transform
one another."
-Elizabeth Lozano What are some of the differences? "To approach or touch someone without that person's consent is a violation of a fundamental right within the Anglo-Saxon, Protestant cultural tradition. Ths is the right to one's own body as private property.
Within this tradition, touching is understood as an excursion into someone else's territory. It
requires, as such, an explicit permission to "trespass" the spatial barriers that
protect the perimeter of that physical property."
-Elizabeth Lozano In the United Statcs, street flirting is understood
basically as a form of harassment. In Latin
America, street flirting has more ambiguous
significations. Public forms of flirting (such as the
piropo) are not only socially sanctioned but also
welcomed and expected as expressions of a man's
gallantry or caballerosidad regarding a woman's appeal
or charm. Piropos are frases galantes, courtly phrases that
are meant to be celebrating, flattering, and appreciative of a
woman's "graces." Piropos range from exclamations such as
"adios mamita," (hi/bye, mama), "que buena que esta" (how
good/delicious you look). or "adios cuńado" (hi/bye, brother-in-law,
said to the man who accompanies a woman), to statements such as 'Si
cocina como camina, me como hasta el pegado" (if you cook like you walk,
l'll eat the left-overs), "bendila la madre que la trajo al mundo" (blessed be the
mother who brought you to the world), or "bendilos los ojos que la ven" (blessed be
the eyes that can see you).
-Elizabeth Lozano Proxemics Introduced by Edward T. Hall in 1966

Proxemics is the study of set measurable distances between people as they interact

Or the study of people's use of space as a function of culture Hall says:
We maintain our personal space with tremendous accuracy, but the appropriate conversational distance varies from culture to culture.

Foreigners aren't playing by the same (cultural) rules, yet most of us act as if they should. Americans
Middle Easterners
Polynesians Mexican Space
European Space The Close Talker Body Language By
Mele' Vaitohi,
Nick Scholz,
Agustin Diaz
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