Personal space is highly variable, and can be due to cultural differences and personal experiences. For example, the cultural practices of the United States show considerable similarities to those in northern and central European regions, such as Germany, the Benelux, Scandinavia, and the United Kingdom. Greeting rituals tend to be the same in Europe and in the United States, consisting of minimal body contact—often confined to a simple handshake. The main cultural difference in proxemics is that residents of the United States like to keep more open space between themselves and their conversation partners (roughly 4 feet (1.2 m) compared to 2 to 3 feet (0.6–0.9 m) in Europe). European cultural history has seen a change in personal space since Roman times, along with the boundaries of public and private space.... On the other hand, those living in densely populated places likely have lower expectations of personal space. Residents of India or Japan tend to have a smaller personal space than those in the Mongolian steppe, both in regard to home and individual spaces. Different expectations of personal space can lead to difficulties in intercultural communication.I'm reading this entry in Wikipedia because it relates to a long, wide-ranging conversation I was having with Meade. Feel free to discuss the proxemics of whatever you want.
Hall notes that different culture types maintain different standards of personal space. The Francavilla Model of Cultural Types, also known as The Lewis Model, lists the variations in personal interactive qualities, indicating three poles:
linear-active cultures, which are characterized as cool and decisive (Germany, Norway, USA)Realizing and recognizing these cultural differences improves cross-cultural understanding, and helps eliminate discomfort people may feel if the interpersonal distance is too large ("stand-offish") or too small (intrusive).
reactive cultures, characterized as accommodating and non-confrontational (Vietnam, China, Japan), and
multi-active cultures, characterized as warm and impulsive (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Italy).
November 1, 2016
"Proxemics is the study of human use of space and the effects that population density has on behaviour, communication, and social interaction...."