Examine the Argument That ‘Good Fences Make Good Neighbours’.

Examine the argument that ‘Good fences make good neighbours’.

This essay will examine the argument that good fences, such as privacy and distance, material infrastructures (fences, hedges, gates, doors, etc) make good neighbours. It will look at the term identity, specifically how relational identities exist between neighbours in their street and wider community. It will examine qualitative evidence such as studies relating to the concept of neighbouring in UK society (Abrams and Brown, 1984), (Wilmott, 1986) social order, geographical and cultural differences in different societies (Brandes, 1975), and to show how society can be made and repaired after it breaks down (Kate Fox, 2004).

The term ‘identity’ is often widely used but rather difficult to define. This is because people have multiple social identities. A social identity is an identity given by connections to other people and social situations - group or collective identities (gender, age, nationality, etc.), situated identities – where people are and what they are doing, and how they can be connected to a street or wider neighbourhood, relational identities - refer to relationships between people such as family groups, employers and employees, buyer s and sellers, etc. Each of these categories can be used to describe both similarities and differences between people. For example, two people sharing the same gender or nationality, yet fall into different categories because of different age groups.
Over the decades, sociologists and environmental psychologists, in particular have been interested in the study of neighbourhoods and the relational identities between neighbours. Most people have neighbours and therefore the practice of being a neighbour is widely understood, yet at the same time, can often be taken for granted. The main thread of social science research seems to concern the question of ‘what makes a good neighbour?’ In a range of studies conducted during the 1980’s, principle...