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Social Mix Revisited: Neighbourhood Institutions as Setting for Boundary Work and Social Capital

Social Mix Revisited: Neighbourhood Institutions as Setting for Boundary Work and Social Capital Policy makers tend to think that residential ‘mixing’ of classes and ethnic groups will enhance social capital. Scholars criticize such ‘mixing’ on empirical and theoretical grounds. This article argues that the critics may focus too much on neighbourhoods. Mixing within neighbourhood institutions might work differently, we argue, drawing on data from a mixed school in Berlin, Germany. While class boundaries are constructed, we also find class-crossing identifications based on setting-specific characteristics, highlighting the setting’s importance and the agency of lower/working and middle-class parents. Parents create ties for exchanging setting-specific resources: child-related social capital. Institutional neighbourhood settings can hence be important for boundary work and social capital. Criticism of social capital and social mix should not overlook the role of networks for urban inequality. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sociology SAGE

Social Mix Revisited: Neighbourhood Institutions as Setting for Boundary Work and Social Capital

Sociology , Volume 48 (3): 18 – Jun 1, 2014

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References (62)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2013
ISSN
0038-0385
eISSN
1469-8684
DOI
10.1177/0038038513500108
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Policy makers tend to think that residential ‘mixing’ of classes and ethnic groups will enhance social capital. Scholars criticize such ‘mixing’ on empirical and theoretical grounds. This article argues that the critics may focus too much on neighbourhoods. Mixing within neighbourhood institutions might work differently, we argue, drawing on data from a mixed school in Berlin, Germany. While class boundaries are constructed, we also find class-crossing identifications based on setting-specific characteristics, highlighting the setting’s importance and the agency of lower/working and middle-class parents. Parents create ties for exchanging setting-specific resources: child-related social capital. Institutional neighbourhood settings can hence be important for boundary work and social capital. Criticism of social capital and social mix should not overlook the role of networks for urban inequality.

Journal

SociologySAGE

Published: Jun 1, 2014

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