Space and Everyday Life

Toward a Typology of Space and Intrusion

"Sense" Boundaries, inside/outsideness Intrusion
XYZ (location in space)
personal space, property space (as in "get off my…"); territory in conventional sense. Note concept in law/theory of rules applying to space/place
Sight
Physical: Walls, clothing. Obstacles and shields. Social: avert the eyes. Intrustion = Peeking, peeping, spying, catching a glimpse. Staring. Visual space is space that is crossed. Seeing involves "turning toward" and "looking at"
Hearing
Eavesdropping and eavescasting. Inside voice. Speak up. Filling a space with one's voice. Being in a crowd when suddenly someone's voice carries over the crowd (can simulate it by dropping a word bomb - everyone hears "orgasm" but many not "organization")
Touch
Smell
More like auditory - smells fill space, go out in all directions, come to you rather than needing to look toward them. Smells array along dimension of bad neutral good. We can eliminate bad odors (at the source or via dilution - open the window) or we can cover them up (perfume, breath mints, etc.). Smell can be relative. OK for us all to stink when we are exercising but there is a normative amount of olfactory intrusion in any given situation. Smell can also be associated with a space but not a person. An apartment or car can smell of smoke (as can a dress or shirt or a person's breath or hair). Area around a restaurant can smell. Or a neighborhood where people are cooking similar foods. Smells can be public nuisance. I can intrude on you by making you smell me or by smelling you when you don't want me to. Sniffing. Lots of times we can smell something but there's a politeness that says we don't show people we smell it.
Taste
More like visual in that it's focused and mostly intentional. But can be more like auditory when we think about the experience of taste (think about tasting wine, for example). Almost never a part of social interaction in "I taste you" sense, but a very curious kind of social interaction when we are both tasting the same thing or comparing our experience of taste (including the personal space of what I do and do not like the taste of). Fundamental problem of intersubjectivity: why do I think strawberries do the same thing for you that they do for me?

What sorts of things can be used to indicate boundaries?

Goffman (31). Difference between arrivals and departures from crowded spaces. Using what we know of selves, deference, and demeanor, theorize about what we might expect to see and why.

Type Shape All or Nothing Temporary Intrusions Examples
Personal Space Countour No No
Stall Architecture X X Chair, bathroom, phone booth, beach/pool/concert
Use "Out of my way…"
Turn Taking Ordering rule, claim mechanism
Possessional
Sheath
Information Preserve
Conversational Preserve

Miscellaneous Notes

File nameFile typeSize
Goffman-PSEDL-Regions.docComposite Document File V2 Document35 kBInfo
Goffman-PSEDL-Regions.pdfPDF document69.7 kBInfo
Notes on Sociology and Space.docComposite Document File V2 Document32 kBInfo
Notes on Sociology and Space.pdfPDF document69.36 kBInfo
Space in everyday life.docComposite Document File V2 Document21.5 kBInfo