chapter  5
28 Pages

Relating to others

The ways in which residents used narratives of belonging echo some classic discourses of ‘us and them’, identifying and denigrating others while reinforcing a positive self-image (Riggins 1997). This plays down negative qualities of ‘us’ and heightens a focus on the negative qualities of ‘them’, identifying ‘them’ as a threat to the security or values of the community. As such it can mask disharmony amongst community relationships and exaggerate the threats and problems caused by ‘others’. A narrative of decline of community also belied some clearly close relationships between residents, which, though often not visible because of a lack of public indoor spaces, continued to be sustained in visits to each other’s houses.