The Hidden Dimension 

Document Type: Book
Author: Edward T. Hall
Publisher:  New York: Doubleday.
First edition: 1966
ISBN: 0385084765
ISBN13: 9780385084765

People like to keep certain distances between themselves and other people or things. And this invisible bubble of space that constitutes each person’s “territory” is one of the key dimensions of modern society. Edward T. Hall, the author of The Silent Language, introduced the science of proxemics to demonstrate how man’s use of space can affect personal and business relations, cross-cultural interactions, architecture, city planning, and urban renewal.

”One of the few extraordinary books about mankind’s future which should be read by every thoughtful person.” —Chicago Tribune

“This is a book of impressive genius, replete with unusually sharp observations.” —Richard J. Neutra, Landscape Architecture

1. Culture as communication

2. Distance regulation in animals

  • Spacing mechanism in animals: flight distance, critical distance, contact and non-contact species, personal distance and social distance
  • Population control
  • The stickleback sequence
  • Malthus reconsidered
  • The die-off on James Island
  • Predation and population

3. Crowding and social behaviour in animals

  • Calhoun’s experiment: Design of the experiment, development of the slink, courting and sex, Nest building, care of the young, territoriality and social organization, physiological consequence of slink, aggressive behaviour, The slink that didn’t develop, Summary of Calhoun’s experiment.
  • The biochemistry of crowding: Exocrinology, The sugar-bank model, The adrenals and stress, The uses of stress.

4. The perception of Space:  Distance receptors- eyes, ears, and nose.

  • Visual and Auditory Space
  • Olfactory space: The chemical bias of olfaction, olfaction in humans.

5. Perception of space: Immediate receptors- Skin and muscles. 

  • Hidden zones in American offices
  • Thermal space
  • Tactile space

6. Visual space

  • Vision as synthesis
  • The seeing mechanism
  • Stereoscopic

7. Art as a clue to perception

  • Contrast of contemporary cultures
  • Art as a history of perception

8. The language of space 

  • Literature as a key to perception

9. The anthropology of space: An organization model 

  • Fixed- feature space
  • Semifixed-feature space
  • Informal space

10. Distances in Man 

  • The dynamism of space
  • Intimate space
  • Personal space
  • Social space
  • Public space
  • Why “four” distances

11. Proxemics in a Cross-cultural Context: Germans, English and French. 

  • The Germans: Germans and intrusion, The “private sphere”, Order in space.
  • The English: Using the telephone, Neighbours, Whose in the bedroom?, Talking loud and soft, Eye behaviour.
  • The French: Home and family, French use of open spaces, The star and the grid.

12. Proxemics in a cross-cultural context: Japan and the Arab world.

  • Japan: How crowded is crowded?, the Japanse concept of space including the Ma.
  • The Arab World: Behaviour in public, concepts of privacy, Arab personal distances, Facing and not facing, Involvement, Feeling about enclosed boundaries.

13. Cities and culture

  • The need for control
  • Psychology and architecture
  • Pathology and overcrowding
  • Monochronic  and Polychronic time
  • The automobile syndrome
  • Contained community Buildings
  • Prospectus for city planning of the future

14. The proxemics and future of man

  • Form vs function, Content vs structure
  • Man’s biological past
  • The need for answers
  • You cannot shed culture


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