PEOPLE SPACE by Norman & Albert E. Scheflen Ashcraft


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A cursory discussion of how people use space, which nods to Lorenz and Tinbergen, disputes Ardrey's oversimplifications, and offers its own slight argument. Anthropologist Ashcraft and psychiatrist Scheflen identify the social variables in territoriality--class and cultural expectations, contextual factors, the parameters of urban and rural living--generalizing from very few examples. They contend that the 15' x 18' living room (""the model for American architecture"") has origins in 9th-century Saxon dwellings and in ancient Greek, Egyptian, and early Mayan rooms, an intriguing idea with little given to support it. The implications of their ""findings"": population density, a function of poverty, contributes to social disintegration and violence; certain personality types are more likely to express themselves explosively; certain places recur as settings for such outbursts--bars for public disputes, the kitchen and the bedroom for private conflicts. Popular theorizing rather than solid research, not nearly as exhaustive as Mehrabian's Public Places and Private Spaces (p. 777).

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1976
Publisher: Anchor/Doubleday