Ball, Donald W. Ball 1973. Microecology: Social Situations and Intimate Space. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company.

Irrespective of any other situational properties, all face-to-face social encounters take place within an intimate spatial context - a microecological environment within which interactants are territorially located; spatially defined vis-á-vis one another as their interdepartment outcomes, evaluations, and experiences are geometrically anchored. They sit, they stand, they posture and slouch, they gesture and jiggle - all the while positioning and repositioning themselves, both molarly and molecularly within the horizontal and vertical coordinates of intimate or immediate space - spatially communicating social meamings about themselves, their partners, and the situation around them. In short, all social activities are spatially located and variably structured. (Ball 1973: 3)
It almost seems as if these coordinates were significant - as if people who position themselves are aware of... numbers.
There appear to be at least three basic traditions in the relatively sparse social scientific literature on the subject. These are, (1) the microgeographical: distributional studies as prototheoretical statements of Robert Sommer and his colleagues; (2) the proxemics: space-as-communication orientation of Edward T. Hall; and (3) the kinesics: movement-of-the-body-as-communication tradition which starts scientifically with Darwin (1872), is carried on in the ethologists' concern with animal communication (Armstrong, 1965; Barnett, 1963), and among social scientists is most strongly associated with the writings of Ray L. Birdwhistell. (Ball 1973: 3)
I wonder if other suchlike fields could be similarly titled, e.g. oculesics as eye-movement-as-communication. Not a very useful thought, but an interesting one.
And since humans have the capacity for self-indication and the monitoring of their own acts, they may be in copresence with themselves alone, i.e., they may be audience to their own performances. Thus, we employ a social psychological perspective, more specifically one that is symbolically interactionist (Mead, 1934; Stone and Farberman, 1970), albeit bereft of verbalizations, the basic stuff of most analyses in this tradition. (Ball 1973: 4)
Ball gets right to the point of what I like to call self-communication.
Not only are these orientations culturally learned, the products of socialization, they are also interdependent: definitions of self and others are spatially-based, both physically and metaphorically. In other words, part of our definitions of "who we are" depends on answers to the question of "where we are." (Ball 1973: 6)
Very true.
Such [face-to-face or copresent] transactions take place in what may be called microspace: this defined as the bounded limits of naturally transmitted communication; that is, the spatial confines within which symbolic exchange between actors so located can take place without strain or artificial aid. These boundaries are set by visual auditory, tactile, and olfactory barriers, (especially the first) - e.g., sight restraints, sund levels, inter alia. Such limiting factors include the physiological, such as sensory acuity; the physical-mechanical, walls for instance; the psychological, e.g. cognitive engrossment (Goffman 1961a:1-81), selective attention, inattention, and perception; and the social, that is the rules that define the parameters of social settings. Examples of this last include the conventions regulating eye-contact (Argyle, 1969:105-110). The paradigmatic case of a bounded microspace is a room or a walled establishment (Goffman, 1956:66); but it could be the bench seat of a bus, a table in a noisy cafeteria, or for two prospectors meeting on the desert, the limits of the horizon itself. (Ball 1973: 8)
A definition of microspace. The role of selective attention (sensory gating) is noted. And the cafeteria table example relates directly to a scene in Orwell wherein many of these same factors play an inhibiting role for Winston to establish communicative contact with Julia.
[George] Simmel on the other hand, treated microspace more rigorously at the conceptual level, while as was his custom even less so at the empirical level, than did [Herbert] Spencer. One of Simmel's concerns was what he called the "ideal sphere" (1950:321-322). This is the zone of socially defined personal space (Sommer, 1959:247-248) surrounding the person, the violation of or intrusion into which leads to felt psychological discomfort and anxiety by those whose ideal sphere is so encroached upon by others. (Ball 1973: 10)
Another neat historical notion added to my ever-increasing inventory of basically useless scientific-philsophical terms.


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