Professor Sarah Neal


Department of Sociological Studies

Professor of Sociology


Professor Sarah Neal
+44 114 222 6424

Full contact details

Professor Sarah Neal
Department of Sociological Studies
Elmfield Building
Northumberland Road
S10 2TU

Sarah joined the Department of Sociological Studies in 2016, having previously worked at Middlesex University, the Open University and the University of Surrey.

Sarah is Co-Editor of the International Sociological Association journal Current Sociology and she is a member of the Editorial Board of Ethnic and Racial Studies.

Research interests

Sarah’s research interests and publications are focused on the following areas and their intersections: ethnicity, race and multiculture; community, belonging and in/exclusion; rural and urban spaces; quotidian social life; sociology of policy processes and qualitative methods.

Her work on rural identities was funded by The Leverhulme Trust and her work on urban multiculture by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Sarah has most recently has been involved in the following two research projects:

Living Multiculture: the new geographies of ethnicity and the changing formations of multiculture in England

Sarah was the Principal Investigator on this two-year project (July 2012-October 2014). The cross-institutional, interdisciplinary research team involved Professors Allan Cochrane and Giles Mohan (Open University) and Dr Katy Bennett (University of Leicester).

This project used three comparative multicultural geographies within urban England to examine belonging and everyday micro social life.

In particular the project focused on participation in everyday public and semi-public and educational spaces and the convivial and conflictual negotiations of these by diverse and differentiated local populations.

Children’s and adults’ friendships across social and ethnic difference

  • Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ES/K002384/1)

Sarah was a Co-Investigator on this two-year project (February 2013-June 2015). The cross institutional, interdisciplinary research team involved Professor Carol Vincent (PI) and Dr Humera Iqbal (both Institute of Education, University College London).

This project explored the friendship relationships adults and children make in and through urban primary schools. In complex geographies primary schools are resource sites which adults and children from different backgrounds routinely share and interact.

The project examined the ways in which adults’ and children’s friendships were socially and ethnically patterned.



  • Vincent C, Neal S & Iqbal H (2018) Friendship and Diversity: Class, Ethnicity and Social Relationships in the City. Palgrave Macmillan. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bloch A, Neal S & Solomos J (2013) Race, Multiculture and Social Policy. Palgrave MacMillan. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Neal S (2012) Rural identities: Ethnicity and community in the contemporary English countryside. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Neal S (2009) Rural identities ethnicity and community in the contemporary English countryside. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Neal S & Agyeman J (2006) The new countryside?: Ethnicity, nation and exclusion in contemporary rural Britain. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Neal S, Bennett K, Cochrane A & Mohan G () Lived Experiences of Multiculture. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Neal S & Agyeman J () Introduction. Bristol University Press. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


  • Nic Dháibhéid C & Reid CW (2019) Afterword, The Cato Street Conspiracy Manchester University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • Neal S (2014) Cybercrime, transgression and virtual environments, Crime: Local and Global (pp. 71-104). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Agyeman J & Neal S (2009) Identity and Otherness, Rural, International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (pp. 277-281). Elsevier RIS download Bibtex download
  • Neal S & Agyeman J (2006) Remaking english ruralities: Processes of belonging and becoming, continuity and change in racialised spaces, The New Countryside?: Ethnicity, Nation and Exclusion in Contemporary Rural Britain (pp. 99-126). RIS download Bibtex download
  • () Public Commissions on Cultural and Religious Diversity Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • Hughes G () Ordering Lives Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

Sarah has previously supervised and is currently supervising PhD students in the following areas - multiculture, ethnicity, identity, community and belonging; rural and urban places, migration, everyday life, social in/exclusion and policy interventions. Sarah would welcome applications to study for research degrees in these (and related) fields.


2013-15 Children’s and adults friendships across social and ethnic difference.

This was a cross-institutional project (with Professor Carol Vincent, Institute of Education, University College London) which considers adults’ and children’s friendships in London and examines what friendships reveal about the nature and extent of ethnic diversity and social divisions in contemporary multicultural society.

  • Grant awarded: £365,000
  • Sponsor: ESRC ES/K002384/1

2012-14 Living multiculture: the new geographies of ethnic diversity and the changing formations of multiculture in England.

This is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional project (with Professor Allan Cochrane, Professor Giles Mohan, both Open University and Dr Katy Bennett, University of Leicester). It focuses on the ordinary encounters of super-diverse populations in everyday locations to explore two key questions: how people live complex cultural difference, and what role place plays in this process.

  • Grant awarded: £463,360
  • Sponsor: ESRC ES/J007676/1

2011 Sep- Dec. Riots, Milton Keynes, Place and Technology.

This small-scale, ‘rapid response’ project used repeated focus groups interviews with young people in Milton Keynes to investigate their experiences and perspectives on the urban disorders in August 2011.

  • Grant awarded: £2,500
  • Sponsor: Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC – ESRC Research Centre)

2007-10 CASE studentship in partnership with Milton Keynes Council Multiculture and cohesion in new urban spaces.

This project focussed on the ways in which a new city space and those responsible for its social well-being responded to its rapidly developing multicultural local population.

  • Grant awarded: 3 year F/T studentship
  • Sponsor: ESRC ES/F033311/1

2003-4 Identities, Ethnicities and Social Organisations in Contemporary Rural England.

This project examined majority ethnic identity formation through the lens of English rurality. It focussed on the way in which nature, the non-human and the concept of community shape processes of ethnicised inclusion and exclusion.

  • Grant awarded: £33,846
  • Sponsor :The Leverhulme Trust
Teaching activities

Sarah’s teaching draws on - and develops - her research interests and experience. She currently teaches on two undergraduate modules and contributes to the Faculty’s Masters degree programmes.

Sarah co-convenes, with Dr Jo Britton SCS2005 Race, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and convenes SCS2020 Doing Qualitative Sociological Research.