When neighbouring goes bad
Boundaries and respect for privacy
Most properties in the UK have distinct physical boundaries, for example, borders, hedges, fences or walls, most people respect these boundaries. We have them as a protection from others around us, so we can sit or sunbathe without onlookers, if someone were to pop their head over our fence this would, to most, be seen as intrusion. Many people have a relationship with their neighbours, most of them keeping a distance, not becoming too friendly, maybe borrowing a power tool or signing for a parcel and dropping it round when they finish work. Willmott, 1986, said neighbours are expected to have a ‘general disposition towards friendliness’ while, at the same time, respecting others ‘need for privacy and reserve’. This suggest the general feeling towards how a neighbour should be is friendly when seen but to respect the privacy and need for space. It is not just the UK who adapt this attitude, although there are other countries in which it’s residents adopt a much more relaxed attitude about neighbourly relations. Many north African countries, for example Gambia, sit outside the front of their ‘houses’ and share food and drinks, money passes through them when others are in need, children are assumed to be looked after by all neighbouring adults, something which would likely be a shocking thought to most in the UK. Multi cultural areas can often see problems, as way of life for individuals who have come from, say, a far east country will differ considerably in how they portray way of life with neighbours. Brandes, 1975, p. 145 describes an interesting account of how different neighbours behaved in Becedas, to him, strangers were entering his property to help unpack his personal belongings without invitation, although they were friendly in...