Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 229–243 | Cite as

Relations in frozen places: Observations on winter public order

  • Jeffrey E. Nash
Article

Abstract

The effects of prolonged winter weather on public order have been overlooked in sociological research literature. A naturalistic observational study conducted over a two year period using team field research methods documents several phenomena characteristic of winter public order. First, there were exaggerated body glosses or “officious displays,” second, decreased numbers of people, third, displays of a festive attitude, and fourth, an attitude of adventure and exploration. These observations allow a generalization that winter public behavior differs from that described by Goffman in that conditions provide greater freedom to the individual in the uses to which urban territory can be put. This democratization of urban space is explained in terms of Homan's model of group processes which suggests that public norms will be suspended with decreased activity and interaction.

If it be true that the temper of the mind and the passions of the heart are extremely different in different climates, the laws ought to be inrelation...to the variety of those tempers. Montesquieu,The Spirit of the Laws, 1784.

Keywords

Social Psychology Field Research Social Issue Research Literature Group Process 

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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey E. Nash
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyMacalester CollegeSaint Paul

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