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Unformatted text preview: Jena Losch 3/11/08 Sociology 101 TV Deviance: Invasion of Personal Space When tourists and immigrants come to the United States from other countries, some of our customs and cultural habits might seem strange or even rude to them. But after a while, after receiving some disproving glances and some tips from Americans – as the people of this country are much more friendly and open to foreigners than most – they will soon adjust their behavior and become integrated into the American culture. Some taboos are easier to avoid, such as not talking about money or age. We also highly value cleanliness and neat dress and behavior; dirty or frumpy looking people are viewed as miscreants or homeless. However, none of the above social taboos are as instrumental in the American culture as our value of personal space : Americans never sit directly next to a person where there is room elsewhere. I was very hesitant to break this social norm, and wondered how people would possibly respond to me. To carry out my experiment, I chose two different places, the library and the community center and to get a balanced result, I interacted with all ages of people, from five years old, to older senior, both male and female. Before the experiment, I believed that people would show signs of discomfort and perhaps move away from me, or they would automatically think that I wanted something from them if I approached them. For the first part of my experiment, I visited the library and singled out a little boy, about 5 years old. He was sitting in the children's section reading a book on a small sofa with just enough room left for me. When I sat down next to him, I smiled at him and took out a book and pretended to read, but still watching his actions. He looked at me for a few seconds with a questioning look on his face. He squirmed a little bit and kicked his feet, almost as if he was waiting for me to say something or do something. Finally he said, “What is your name?” After I told him, he grew visibly more comfortable and continued reading his book. From this experience, I made my first relevation: once I was no longer a “stranger,” now that he knew my name, the boy was much more comfortable in being close proximity to me....
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- Spring '08
- Sociology, Jena Losch