Performing safety in faulty environments

Peter Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This chapter, in contrast to others in the book, is concerned with the urban environment and, more particularly, an environment made ‘faulty’ by the presence of stigmatized industrial activities which may be harmful. Across Britain, as in other parts of the industrialized world, many thousands of people live with large chemical plants on their doorsteps. Despite local awareness of the potential dangers from such plants and the way in which their presence can contribute to a sense of living in a ‘faulty’ environment, in the majority of these neighbourhoods everyday life goes on, for the most part, without protest or opposition. Rather than take this apparent acceptance for granted, we need to ask how this state of affairs is produced. In this chapter I approach this question in terms of the notion of ‘performance’ developed in the work of sociologist Erving Goffman.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-93
Number of pages16
JournalThe Sociological Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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