The Cultural Patterning of Space
1. Anthropologists do not know why one culture develops one type of time-space perception and another culture develops another type. Spatial perceptions may be adaptations to specific environments: the degree of population density; the amount of arable land; the absence or existence of natural barriers such as the sea or mountains; the amount of distinguishing landmarks in a region. For instance, among some Eskimo peoples, whose environment is a vast snow plain with few landmarks visible for most of the year, spatial perception is highly developed. The Eskimos must learn to make careful distinctions among different spatial elements, as their lives may literally depend on these distinctions when they are hunting far from home.
2. In some cultures a significant aspect of spatial perception is shown by the amount of “personal space” people need between themselves and others to feel comfortable and not crowded. North Americans, for instance, seem to require about four feet of space between themselves and the people near them to feel comfortable. On the other hand, people from Arab countries and Latin America feel comfortable when they are close to each other. People from different cultures, therefore, may unconsciously infringe on each other’s sense of space. Thus just as different perceptions of time may create cultural conflicts, so too may different perceptions of space.
1. 人类学家不知道为什么一种文化会产生一种时空观，而另一种文化却会产生另一种时空观。空间观也许是对特定环境的适应：人口稠密的程度、耕地的多少、像海与山这样的天然 屏障的有无以及一个地区特征性陆标的多少。例如，爱斯基摩人的环境是一片辽阔的雪原， 几乎终年见不到什么陆标，于是他们的空间感就得到了极大的发展。他们得学会区分各空间 元素之间的细微差别，因为这是他们远离家园外出打猎时赖以生存的技能。
2. 某些文化对于空间感觉的一个重要方面就体现于人们所需的彼此感觉舒适却又不觉拥挤 的“私人空间”。例如，北美人彼此感觉舒适所需的空间距离大约是4英尺。而阿拉伯人和拉美人反而是彼此靠近才会感觉舒服。因此，不同文化的人可能会无意间侵犯别人的空间感。 正如不同的时间观可能会造成文化上的冲突，不同的空间观也会引发同样的问题。