Situational Improprieties

In diagnosing mental disorder and following its hospital course, psychiatrists typically cite aspects of the patient’s behavior that are “inappropriate in the situation.” (…)

By and large, the psychiatric study of situational improprieties has led to studying the offender rather than the rules and social circles that are offended. Through such studies, however, psychiatrists have inadvertently made us more aware of an important area of social life—that of behavior in public and semi-public places. Although this area has not been recognized as a special domain for sociological inquiry, it perhaps should be, for rules of conduct in streets, parks, restaurants, theaters, shops, dance floors, meeting halls, and other gathering places of any community tell us a great deal about its most diffuse forms of social organization.

Erving Goffman, Behavior in Public Places (1963)

Monty Python, Stills of the Ministry of Silly Walks’ Sketch (1970)

Published by

vty

vty is professor on Landscape Theory and Landscape design at the Catalonian Politecnical University in Barcelona and at the Politecnico di Milano

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