Neighbourly Relations

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Examine the argument that neighbourly relations are characterised by friendly distance. Neighbourly relations are an aspect of life which affects every single one of us at some point in our lives. When we look to live somewhere we not only consider the property and general area, but are also curious about our neighbours. A common question when viewing a property is ‘what are the neighbours like?’ and the answer is usually ‘they are really nice’ whether they are or not! But what makes a good neighbour? Some people get on with their neighbours but just as many don’t and usually it’s due to what can appear as trivial disputes. This essay will look at the term ‘friendly distance’ which plays a huge part in how neighbours interact with each other. Many studies have asked the question ‘what makes a good neighbour?’ and social scientists have found that despite different back grounds or settings the majority of people want the same set of standards from the people living near or around them. People need to be friendly and be there for each other but at the same time respect each others’ ‘need for privacy and reserve’ (Willmott., cited in Byford, 2009, p.253). So you have to be friendly but keep your distance at the same time. So how do we do this? Neighbouring relations comes with it’s own set of unwritten rules. These rules are constantly being portrayed and carried out in our day to day lives subconsciously. A 2004 study carried out in Manchester neighbourhoods further shows that this is a widespread practice. Neighbours of various areas demonstrated similar actions and practices of what is expected from neighbours, a common one being that they will chat with their neighbour when they are outside of the house if they see them but wouldn’t they wouldn’t go in each other’s house (Harris and Gale, cited in Byford, 2009, p.255). This type of understanding of what is expected of a neighbour is also echoed in another study where neighbouring is seen as an ‘occasioned...
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