Situating local experience of risk: Peripherality, marginality and place identity in the UK foot and mouth disease crisis

K Bickerstaff, P Simmons, N Pidgeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Research into exposure to, and experience of, environmental risk that has an explicitly spatial focus can be broadly differentiated into two strands. The first strand focuses on the responses of communities of exposure (or the threat of exposure) to some form of environmental hazard and to the policies put in place by institutional actors to manage the hazard. The second strand addresses social inequalities in exposure to environmental hazards and seeks to correlate uneven spatial distributions of risk across different social groups. It is argued that both strands are limited by their respective understandings of space – and that the way in which vulnerable communities experience environmental risk and its management will be shaped significantly by the complex interactions of different spatialisations or constructions of space. We explore this process by examining accounts of local experience of the UK’s 2001 foot and mouth disease crisis and its management in terms of the interplay of two different spatialisations: socio-cultural marginality and political–economic peripherality. We trace the relationship between these cultural and political–economic spatialisations through an analysis of the discursive mobilisation of contrasting place rhetorics. We conclude that focusing on these rhetorics can enhance our understanding of the spatial processes which are constitutive of place identity and in turn mediate the experience of environmental risk and its management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-858
Number of pages15
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


  • Environmental risk
  • Space
  • Place
  • Peripherality
  • Marginality
  • Place myths
  • Foot and mouth disease
  • England

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