Concept

Edward T. Hall

Summary
Edward Twitchell Hall, Jr. (May 16, 1914 – July 20, 2009) was an American anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher. He is remembered for developing the concept of proxemics and exploring cultural and social cohesion, and describing how people behave and react in different types of culturally defined personal space. Hall was an influential colleague of Marshall McLuhan and Buckminster Fuller. Hall was born in Webster Groves, Missouri and taught at the University of Denver, Colorado, Bennington College in Vermont, Harvard Business School, Illinois Institute of Technology, Northwestern University in Illinois and others. The foundation for his lifelong research on cultural perceptions of space was laid during World War II, when he served in the U.S. Army in Europe and the Philippines. From 1933 through 1937, Hall lived and worked with the Navajo and the Hopi on Native American reservations in northeastern Arizona, the subject of his autobiographical West of the Thirties. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1942 and continued with field work and direct experience throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. During the 1950s he worked for the United States State Department, at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), teaching inter-cultural communications skills to foreign service personnel, developed the concept of "high context culture" and "low context culture", and wrote several popular practical books on dealing with cross-cultural issues. He is considered a founding father of intercultural communication as an academic area of study. Throughout his career, Hall introduced a number of new concepts, including proxemics, monochronic time, polychronic time, and high-context and low-context cultures. In his second book, The Hidden Dimension (1966), he describes the culturally specific temporal and spatial dimensions that surround each of us, such as the physical distances people maintain in different contexts.
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