A set of photos, taken by Ian Mansfield, are a neat illustration of how culture can coordinate human action. They capture London on Christmas morning. Said Mansfield:
Apart from the emptiness of the city, it is the silence that makes the experience such an addictive one for me.
London is never silent, not even at 3am, but on Xmas morning, it is almost silent. The background drone of aircraft approaching Heathrow has gone, and away from main roads, the streets lack the sound of car tyres rolling over tarmac.
Heading home, also a sound you never really hear now – the pealing of church bells. Not just coming from a single church you are nearby, but from all over the city as the sound carries far further than usual and surrounds you from all sides. Magical.
Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.