Notes on Intercultural Communication

Personal Space in China

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Personal Space – China doesn’t have it

(…) The total lack of personal space in China gets under an American’s skin in a matter of seconds. Riding a bus designed for 40 people, with close to 100 crammed in it is a daily test of my cultural sensitivity. I could tell you stories, but until you have spent 45 minutes practically living in someone’s armpit, in the middle of summer in one of China’s hottest cities, you simply can’t even imagine it.

(…)

The living situation as explained by my Chinese friends, the “emic” view, is that Chinese families are much closer than American families. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is true in some ways, sharing a few hundred square feet with 6 people would cause close relationships (or insanity). My Chinese co-worker sleeps in the same bed as her 5-year-old daughter, because it is hard to get good apartments near the good schools.

(…)

I think this lack of personal space at home carries over into public spaces. The “need” for personal space doesn’t seem to have developed here. Which is why when you climb on to a Chinese bus, you are about to make friends with 100 strangers, and nobody but you is going to mind. (…)

T in Seeing Red in China online here or download full pdf here.

(retrieved 31.01.2014 at http://seeingredinchina.com/2011/03/11/personal-space-china-doesnt-have-it/)

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Subway in Beijing (?)

no personal space

(retrieved 01.02.2014 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKTIVkdC_dI&list=PL51769C66CD6B7C79&index=1)

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When different Concepts of Personal Space collide in Singapore

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Personal Space in China
(retrieved 31.01.2014 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL51769C66CD6B7C79&feature=player_detailpage&v=gKTIVkdC_dI)

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More about Personal Space from E.T. Hall on his website or at a previous post E. T. Hall – Proxemics (Understanding Personal Space)

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(reviewed 01.02.2014)

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