Hall’s 10 elements of culture

From The Silent Language by Edward T. Hall culture can be discerned by reviewing 10 elements of a culture. In his words:

The criteria, from an anthropological point of view, are firm. There are ten separate kinds of human activity which I have labeled Primary Message Systems (PMS) (editors note: how unfortunate?!) Only the first PMS involves language (editors note again: really?) – pg 37, The Silent Language, Hall

and here is the list from page 37+

  1. Interaction – irritable interaction and speech, to not be dead.
  2. Association – pecking order and joining cells, patterns
  3. Subsistence – food to the economy of a country
  4. Bisexuality – sex and reproduction (no, not the “bi” you are thinking)
  5. Territoriality – the taking, maintenance and defense of territory
  6. Temporality – cycles, rhythms, the passage of time
  7. Learning and Aquisition – study or “acquire” knowledge
  8. Play – humor, joy, competition
  9. Defense – warfare, religion, medicine, and all ways we cleverly defend ourselves
  10. Exploitation – use of materials, adapt to environment

Other gems from this amazing book include:

… humans experience on three different levels, how they communicate to their children in three ways while in the process of rearing them, how they alternate between three different types of awareness or consciousness and embue each experience with three different types of emotional overtones. I have called this crucial trio:

  1. the formal,
  2. the informal, and
  3. the technical

He continues

One of the most effective ways to learn about oneself is by taking seriously the cultures of others. It forces you to pay attention to those details of live which differentiate them from you.

This is one of those blog posts that you post mostly for yourself, as a record, so you will find it later. Nothing replaces reading the book. It may have been written in 1959, but not much has changed. Really.