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Nonverbal

 
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Фрагмент текста

(© Л. Броснахан, 1998)


Chapter 14. Artifacts

Clothes make the man — and woman

With Artifacts we leave the first great division of nonverbal communication, Body Language, which consists of paralanguage and kinesics ( язык жестов и телодвижений ), and enter the second great division, Object Language ( язык предметов ), which consists of cosmetics, grooming, clothes, accessories, furniture, hard and soft movable goods. For our purposes we will consider as Artifacts the relatively personal and movable objects with which people express themselves nonverbally. An individual's clothing typically illustrates Artifacts while the arrangement of the city he lives in illustrates Environment, our last chapter, still an expression of man but of a whole culture rather than an individual. Expression may then be as individual and momentary as a hand gesture, as individual but relatively permanent as a habit or character, or as collective and permanent as architecture or agricultural terracing ( культура земледелия ).

Following the organization of much of the book, we will start with the body and move outward from it and end rather arbitrarily with vehicles, leaving houses for Environment. Using Artifacts as the cover term ( зд. общий термин ) for all these external things, we will consider the voluntary acquisition and arrangement of these relatively close, personal items as aspects of personal presentation and social and political group identification. Artifacts will then include whatever aspects of even relatively permanent environment an individual can control, perhaps rarely the architecture of his home but, within his choice, the type of home he has, and certainly how he decorates it and the state of order in which he maintains it. Though some advertising signs are as permanent as city planning, signs will be treated here as artifacts.

The body is evidently the first object of object language or artifact language, and discussion of it has already begun in Appearance, where it was noted that body types and personality types are related at least stereotypically and that people make considerable efforts to modify even their body types by diet and exercise and their appearance by seeking or avoiding a tan. But these are only the beginnings of the modification of self in self—presentation by addition from the outside.

A basic point to be made is that in surplus cultures ( зд. развитые культуры; ), including Russian and English, the basic functions of artifacts are essentially taken for granted and almost the entire effort of production and consumption is devoted to the symbolic or expressive functions of artifacts, which generates a bewildering variety out of which individuals must construct an ensemble which inevitably makes some sort of individual statement ( зд. конструкция, которая неизбежно много говорит об этом человеке ), even if it is only a mindless capitulation to the current fashion, which is itself a statement. Given the current fashions, one's principal statement is whether to follow them or not, and one's secondary statement is which fashion is followed, and one's third statement is perhaps how slavishly the chosen fashion is followed. Out of the welter ( многообразие, хаос ) of fashions come a few constants such as the relative stability of formal clothes, the relative instability of sports clothes, and the tendency for sports clothes to set the chic for work clothes or daily clothes. For instance, the top hat was originally an 18c riding hat, and the sports jacket is today's high executive's privilege, while travelers today wear ski and jogging outfits in airplanes, and students carry their books in backpacks and always look as if they are on the way to or from the gymnasium.

Perhaps the greatest of contrasts between Russians and English in this area of nonverbal communication is not so much in the kind of means used as in the degree to which they go to control their appearances and elaborate their self—presentation. It is difficult to find anything English do in this way that Russians do not also do, but the numbers involved, the degree of effort and expenditure, the size of industries dedicated to artifact language differ enormously. It might even be suggested that while English are fighting desperately to emerge from the crowd in their self-presentation, Russians, for the most part, seem, at least in recent times, to be trying to lose themselves in the crowd, in line with the generally collectivist ideal of the culture. However, since the revolution of 1989 ( прим. автор имеет ввиду исторический период, когда в нашей стране начались демократические преобразования ), differences in these matters are much harder to find.



1) Russian and English Nonverbal Communication - предисловие
2) Russian and English Nonverbal Communication - фрагмент
3) Russian and English Nonverbal Communication - содержание
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