Professor Sarah Neal
BA, MA, PhD
Department of Sociological Studies
Professor of Sociology
+44 114 222 6424
Full contact details
Department of Sociological Studies
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
- Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ES/J007676/1)
- Project information link
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.
- Friendship and Diversity: Class, Ethnicity and Social Relationships in the City. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Race, Multiculture and Social Policy. Palgrave MacMillan.
- Rural identities: Ethnicity and community in the contemporary English countryside.
- Rural identities ethnicity and community in the contemporary English countryside.
- The new countryside?: Ethnicity, nation and exclusion in contemporary rural Britain.
- Lived Experiences of Multiculture. Routledge.
- Author response to reviews of Lived Experience. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 42(3), 409-416.
- Community and Conviviality? Informal Social Life in Multicultural Places. Sociology, 53(1), 69-86. View this article in WRRO
- Living in the city: school friendships, diversity and the middle classes. The British Journal of Sociology, 69(2), 352-371. View this article in WRRO
- Editors’ Report 2017. Sociology, 51(6), 1127-1131.
- On the tensions of universities as a social institution – developing a comparative sociology of higher education. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40(13), 2285-2292.
- Negotiating the educational spaces of urban multiculture: Skills, competencies and college life. Urban Studies, 54(10), 2305-2321. View this article in WRRO
- Encounters with diversity: Children’s friendships and parental responses. Urban Studies, 54(8), 1974-1989. View this article in WRRO
- Editors’ Report 2016. Sociology, 51(2), 203-207.
- Childrens friendships in super-diverse localities: Encounters with social and ethnic difference. Childhood, 24(1), 128-142. View this article in WRRO
- ‘You can’t move in Hackney without bumping into an anthropologist’: why certain places attract research attention. Qualitative Research, 16(5), 491-507.
- Extended Encounters in Primary School Worlds: Shared Social Resource, Connective Spaces and Sustained Conviviality in Socially and Ethnically Complex Urban Geographies. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 37(5), 464-480.
- Children’s friendships in diverse primary schools: teachers and the processes of policy enactment. Journal of Education Policy, 31(4), 482-494. View this article in WRRO
- Editors’ Report 2016. Sociology, 50(2), 227-230.
- Listening. Emotion, Space and Society, 17, 7-14. View this article in WRRO
- Sociologies of Everyday Life: Editors' Introduction to the Special Issue. Sociology, 49(5), 811-819.
- Urban Multiculture and Everyday Encounters in Semi-Public, Franchised Cafe Spaces. The Sociological Review, 63(3), 644-661.
- Multiculture and Public Parks: Researching Super-diversity and Attachment in Public Green Space. Population, Space and Place, 21(5), 463-475.
- Race, Community and Conflict fifty years on. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38(3), 379-385.
- Researching the Everyday: An Interview with Amanda Wise. Sociology, 49(5), 988-1000.
- Editors’ Report 2015. Sociology, 49(2), 207-211.
- Class Debate. Sociology, 48(3), 427-428.
- Editors’ Report. Sociology, 48(2), 211-215.
- Multiculture, middle class competencies and friendship practices in super-diverse geographies. Social & Cultural Geography, 14(8), 909-929.
- Editors’ Foreword. Sociology, 47(4), 619-622.
- Living Multiculture: Understanding the New Spatial and Social Relations of Ethnicity and Multiculture in England. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 31(2), 308-323.
- Transition culture: Politics, localities and ruralities. Journal of Rural Studies, 32, 60-69.
- Crisis social policy and the resilience of the concept of community. Critical Social Policy, 32(3), 343-364.
- Riot: Race and Politics in the 2011 Disorders. Sociological Research Online, 16(4), 216-220.
- Multiculture and Community in New City Spaces. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 32(2), 133-150.
- Researching Up? Interviews, Emotionality and Policy-Making Elites. Journal of Social Policy, 38(4), 689-707.
- Rural Be/longing and Rural Social Organizations: Conviviality and Community-Making in the English Countryside. Sociology, 42(2), 279-297.
- WHO CAN SPEAK TO RACE AND NATION?. Cultural Studies, 21(6), 910-930.
- ‘You can get away with loads because there’s no one here’: Discourses of regulation and non-regulation in English rural spaces. Geoforum, 38(2), 252-263.
- Strangers asking strange questions? A methodological narrative of researching belonging and identity in English rural communities. Journal of Rural Studies, 22(2), 177-189.
- Introduction: Contemporary political contexts, changing terrains and revisited discourses. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28(3), 423-444.
- Misrepresenting the multicultural nation. Policy Studies, 25(3), 155-174.
- The Scarman Report, the Macpherson Report and the Media: How Newspapers Respond to Race-centred Social Policy Interventions. Journal of Social Policy, 32(1), 55-74.
- Rural landscapes, representations and racism: examining multicultural citizenship and policy-making in the English countryside. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 25(3), 442-461.
- 'Embodying black madness, embodying white femininity: Populist (Re)presentations and public policy - The case of Christopher Clunis and Jayne Zito'. Sociological Research Online, 3(4).
- Researching Powerful People from a Feminist and Anti‐racist Perspective: a note on gender, collusion and marginality. British Educational Research Journal, 21(4), 517-531.
- HOW DO SOCIOLOGISTS KEEP UP WITH A SOCIAL WORLD?. The monitoring of public opinion economic&social changes(5), 0-0.
- Afterword, The Cato Street Conspiracy Manchester University Press
- 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).
- Public Commissions on Cultural and Religious Diversity Routledge
- Ordering Lives Routledge
- 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.