The grip of culture

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  • Publicado : 1 de septiembre de 2012
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Summary of “The grip of culture” by Edward T. Hall
The following text summarizes the main ideas of Edward T. Hall’s “The grip of culture”. Edward T. Hall was an anthropologist and one of thefounders of intercultural communication study.
In the first section, which is called “The silent language”, Hall equalizes culture with communication. He assumes that everything what people do, think orfeel is formed by culture. Therefore all human actions can be seen as a result of different cultural developments, which are called “Primary Message Systems”. Culture or rather the way of humancommunication is a silent language, which controls behavior beyond conscious. Furthermore, he says, that culture is not innate, but learned.The real challenge is “to learn to understand the out-of-awarenessaspects of communication, our cultural coconscious”. That means in order to understand foreign cultures, one must first understand one’s own. Furthermore he says that people could get to knowthemselves in a better way, if they try to understand the forces which control their own lives.
The second section (“The hidden dimension”) is mainly about “Proxemics”, which is "the interrelatedobservations and theories of man’s use of space as a specialized elaboration of culture”. It says that the use of space is dependent from culture. The spaces, which are distinguished by humans in an unconsciousway, are called distances. There are four different distances in social situations: intimate (distance of love-making, comforting, protecting), personal (“bubble” that is kept between itself andothers), social (distance of impersonal business), and public. With an increasing familiarity between humans, these distances can be changed. Depending on the culture these distances have a differentextend. Moreover he claims that “in the US, space is used to classify people and activities, whereas in England, it is the social system that determines who you are.” Besides that the handling of time...
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