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The Hidden Dimension

The Hidden Dimension

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Edward T. Hall

ANCHOR BOOKS EDITIONS, 1969, 1990

1. Spatial behavior. 2. Personal space. 3. Architecture—Psychological aspects. 4. City planning—Psychological aspects.


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Book Details
 Price
 3.00
 Pages
 126 p
 File Size 
 13,672 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 ISBN
 0-385-08476-5
 Copyright©   
 1966, 1982 by Edward T. Hall 

AUTHOR'S PREFACE
Generally speaking, two types of books interest the serious
reader: those that are content oriented—designed to convey
a particular body of knowledge—and those that deal with
structure—the way in which events are organized. It is doubtful
if an author has any control over which of these two types
of books he or she writes, though it is desirable to be aware
of the difference. The same applies to the reader whose satisfaction
depends largely on unstated expectations. Today, when
all of us are overwhelmed with data from many sources, it
is easy to understand why people feel that they are losing
touch, even in their own field. In spite of television, or possibly
because of it, people feel a loss of relatedness to the world
at large. Information overload increases the need for organizing
frames of reference to integrate the mass of rapidly changing
information. The Hidden Dimension attempts to provide
such an organizing frame for space as a system of communication,
and for the spatial aspects of architecture and city planning.
Books of this type, since they are independent of disciplinary
lines, are not limited to a particular audience or field.
This lack of disciplinary orientation will disappoint readers
searching for pat answers and those who wish to find everything
classified in terms of content and profession. However,
since space relates to everything, it is inevitable that this book
would cross disciplinary lines.

In writing about my research on people's use of space—
the space that they maintain among themselves and their fellows,
and that they build around themselves in their cities,
their homes, and their offices—my purpose is to bring to
awareness what has been taken for granted. By this means,
I hope to increase self-knowledge and decrease alienation. In
sum, to help introduce people to themselves.

Regarding the organization of the book, I must mention
that as an anthropologist I have made a habit of going back
to the beginning and searching out the biological substructures
from which human behavior springs. This approach underscores
the fact that humankind is first, last, and always a biological
organism. The gulf that separates humans from the
rest of the animal kingdom is not nearly as great as most
people think. Indeed, the more we learn about animals and
the intricate adaptation mechanisms evolution has produced,
the more relevant these studies become for humans in their
search for the solution to many complex human problems.
All of my books deal with the structure of experience as
it is molded by culture, those deep, common, unstated experiences
which members of a given culture share, which they
communicate without knowing, and which form the backdrop
against which all other events are judged. Knowledge of the
cultural dimension as a vast complex of communications on
many levels would be virtually unnecessary if it were not for
two things: our increasing involvements with people in all
parts of the world, and the mixing of subcultures within our
own country as people from rural areas and foreign countries
pour into our cities.

It is increasingly apparent that clashes between cultural systems
are not restricted to international relations. Such clashes
are assuming significant proportions within our own country
and are exacerbated by the overcrowding in cities. Contrary
to popular belief, the many diverse groups that make up our
country have proved to be surprisingly persistent in maintaining
their separate identities. Superficially, these groups may
all look alike and sound somewhat alike, but beneath the
surface are manifold unstated, unformulated differences in
their structuring of time, space, materials, and relationships.
It is these very differences that often result in the distortion
of meaning, regardless of good intentions, when peoples of
different cultures interact.

As a consequence of writing this book, I have been invited
to lecture to hundreds of architectural audiences all over the
United States and to consult on architectural projects. These
talks and consultations have been instructive and constitute
a body of data on social change. One of my objectives has
been to communicate to architects that the spatial experience
is not just visual, but multisensory. And that people differ in
their capacity to visualize—in the quality and intensity of their
visual imagery. Some people cannot visualize a house or a
room or a garden or a street intersection until after the work
has been completed. Architects do not have this problem,
which is why they can be architects, but they forget that their
clients may lack this ability. A third goal was to establish once
and for all that while buildings and towns cannot make up
for social injustice, and much more than good city planning
is needed to make a democracy work, there is still a close
link between mankind and its extensions. No matter what
happens in the world of human beings, it happens in a spatial
setting, and the design of that setting has a deep and persisting
influence on the people in that setting.

My greatest success in promulgating these ideas has been
among the younger architects. Bits and pieces of my research
have been accepted and applied, but not the organizing frame
which includes the idea that everyone receives all information
about the environment through his or her senses. If one wants
to understand the impact of the environment on human beings,
it is necessary to know a great deal about the senses
and how sensory inputs are handled in the brain.

I have always believed in the importance of aesthetics in
architecture, but not at the expense of the people housed in
the buildings. Unfortunately, today most buildings communicate
in no uncertain terms that designing for people is low
on our scale of priorities. All too often architects and planners
are hamstrung by decisions made by financial experts concerned
with "the bottom line." Financial calculations are seldom
based on any understanding of human needs or the ultimate
costs of ignoring them.

People need to know that they are important and that architects
and planners have their welfare in mind, but it is a rare
structure that communicates this basic message. In the context
of international relations, it is also important to know that
the language of space is just as different as the spoken language.
Most important of all, space is one of the basic, underlying
organizational systems for all living things—particularly
for people. Why these statements are true is the subject of this book.

No book reaches a point suitable for publication without
the active cooperation and participation of a great many people,
all essential. There are always particular members of the
team whose roles are more clearly defined and without whose
help the manuscript would never have reached the publisher.
It is the contribution of these people that I wish to acknowledge.
The first need of authors is for someone to stick with them,
to put up with their exasperated impatience when it is pointed
out that they have failed to distinguish clearly between what
they know and what they have written. For me, writing is
something that does not come easily. When I am writing,
everything else stops. This means other people must shoulder
a heavy burden. My first acknowledgment is, as always, to
my wife, Mildred Reed Hall, who is also my partner in my
work and who assisted me in my research in so many ways
that it is often difficult to separate her contributions from my own.

Support for my research has been generously provided by
grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the
Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. I
wish to make special mention of a unique institution, the
Washington School of Psychiatry. As a Research Fellow of
the school and a member of its faculty for many years, I
profited enormously from my interaction with its creative work.

The following editors aided me in the production of this
manuscript: Roma McNickle; Richard Winslow and Andrea
Balchan of Doubleday; and my wife, Mildred Reed Hall.
Without their help I could not have produced this volume.
I received valuable and loyal assistance from Gudrun Huden
and Judith Yonkers, who also provided the line drawings for this book.

I also wish to acknowledge and thank the following for permission
to quote: Harcourt, Brace & World for Antoine de
St. Exupery's Flight to Arras and Night Flight; Harper &
Row for Mark Twain's Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven;
Houghton Mifflin for James J. Gibson's The Perception of
the Visual World; Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., for Franz Kafka's
The Trial and for Yasunari Kawabata's Snow Country,
UNESCO Series of Contemporary Works (Japanese Series),
translated by Edward G. Seidensticker; Language for Edward
Sapir's "The Status of Linguistics as a Science"; Massachusetts
Institute of Technology for Benjamin Lee Whorfs Science
and Linguistics; The Technology Press and John Wiley
& Sons for Benjamin Lee Whorfs Language, Thought, and
Reality; the University of Toronto Press for Edmund Carpenter's
Eskimo; and The Yale Review, Yale University Press
for Edward S. Deevey's "The Hare and the Haruspex: A Cautionary Tale."
Some of the material in Chapter X appeared previously in
my article titled "Silent Assumptions in Social Communication,"
published in the proceedings of the Association for Research
in Nervous and Mental Disease. Permission to use this
material is gratefully acknowledged.


Introduction



Table of Contents
AUTHOR'S PREFACE IX
I. CULTURE AS COMMUNICATION 1
II. DISTANCE REGULATION IN ANIMALS 7
Spacing Mechanisms in Animals 10
Flight Distance 11
Critical Distance 12
Contact and Non-Contact Species 13
Personal Distance 13
Social Distance 14
Population Control 15
The Stickleback Sequence 16
Malthus Reconsidered 18
The Die-off on James Island 19
Predation and Population 21
III. CROWDING AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOR IN ANIMALS 23
Calhoun's Experiments 23
Design of the Experiment 25
Development of the Sink 26
Courting and Sex 27
Nest Building 28
Care of the Young 28
Territoriality and Social Organization 29
Physiological Consequences of the Sink 30
Aggressive Behavior 30
The Sink that Didn't Develop 31
Summary of Calhoun's Experiments 31
The Biochemistry of Crowding 32
Exocrinology 33
The Sugar-Bank Model 34
The Adrenals and Stress 35
The Uses of Stress 39
IV. PERCEPTION OF SPACE: DISTANCE RECEPTORSEYES,
EARS, AND NOSE 41
Visual and Auditory Space 42
Olfactory Space 45
The Chemical Basis of Olfaction 46
Olfaction in Humans 49
V. PERCEPTION OF SPACE: IMMEDIATE RECEPTORS
—SKIN AND MUSCLES 51
Hidden Zones in American Offices 52
Thermal Space 54
Tactile Space 60
VI. VISUAL SPACE 65
Vision as Synthesis 66
The Seeing Mechanism 70
Stereoscopic Vision 73
VII. ART AS A CLUE TO PERCEPTION 77
Contrast of Contemporary Cultures 79
Art as a History of Perception 80
VIII. THE LANGUAGE OF SPACE 91
Literature as a Key to Perception 94
IX. THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF SPACE: AN ORGANIZING
MODEL 101
Fixed-Feature Space 103
Semifixed-Feature Space 108
Informal Space 111
X. DISTANCES EST MAN 113
The Dynamism of Space 114
Intimate Distance 116
Personal Distance 119
Social Distance 121
Public Distance 123
Why "Four" Distances? 125
XI. PROXEMICS IN A CROSS-CULTURAL CONTEXT:
GERMANS, ENGLISH, AND FRENCH 131
The Germans 131
Germans and Intrusions 132
The "Private Sphere" 134
Order in Space 136
The English 138
Using the Telephone 140
Neighbors 141
Whose Room Is the Bedroom? 142
Talking Loud and Soft 142
Eye Behavior 143
The French 144
Home and Family 144
French Use of Open Spaces 146
The Star and the Grid 146
XII. PROXEMICS IN A CROSS-CULTURAL CONTEXT:
JAPAN AND THE ARAB WORLD 149
Japan 149
How Crowded Is Crowded? 152
The Japanese Concept of Space Including
the Ma 152
The Arab World 154
Behavior in Public 154
Concepts of Privacy 157
Arab Personal Distances 159
Facing and Not Facing 160
Involvement 162
Feelings about Enclosed Spaces 162
Boundaries 163
XIII. CITIES AND CULTURE 165
The Need for Controls 167
Psychology and Architecture 169
Pathology and Overcrowding 171
Monochronic and Polychronic Time 173
The Automobile Syndrome 174
Contained Community Buildings 177
Prospectus for City Planning of the Future 178
XIV. PROXEMICS AND THE FUTURE OF MAN 181
Form vs. Function, Content vs. Structure 182
Man's Biological Past 184
The Need for Answers 186
You Can't Shed Culture 188
APPENDIX 191
Summary of James Gibson's Thirteen Varieties of
Perspective as Abstracted from The Perception of
the Visual World

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCES 197
INDBX 209


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