April 3, 2019 - 12:00 pm



Koc University Rumelifeneri Campus, Faculty of Social Sciences Building, SOS143   View map

MiReKoc Seminar Series of Spring 2019 continues with Sumi Hollingworth’s presentation on  “Social mixing and integration: Do ethnically and socially mixed schools lead to mixed friendships? Evidence from depth research in two secondary schools in London, England”. The presentation and discussion will take place on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019, at 12:00, in SOS143. Registration is required for participants not affiliated with Koç University.


Social mixing and integration: Do ethnically and socially mixed schools lead to mixed friendships? Evidence from depth research in two secondary schools in London, England


This research explores sociologically, the policy concept of ‘social mixing’ and the assumption that putting people together who are different will lead them to ‘integrate’ in some way. Located within a super-diverse global city, London, England, and using the ‘urban school’, as a key site of social mix (and urban youth as a key population) I explore whether socially and ethnically mixed schooling leads to mixed friendships. My research challenges an oft-used static concept of mixing and ‘community cohesion’. A key contribution of my work is to explore mixing as a social process, attending to social class and gender, as well as ‘race’/ethnicity, in shaping young people’s evolving friendship-making. Drawing on small-scale, discursively informed, interview-based, research in two  diverse London schools, I examine the patterns of young people’s friendships; and investigate the socio-spatial, institutional and discursive processes which lead to differentiation, stratification or mixing in these friendships. My overarching contribution is to understand social mixing as a classed process. I argue that social mixing is a form of social capital/resource accumulation, a process in which some classed, racialised and gendered bodies have more exchange value than others. Specifically in this paper I hone in on how different demographics of schools constrain and enable the discursive production of the school as space for social mixing, and moreover how this is intimately connected to academic inclusivity or exclusivity. I conclude that, all-the-while an education system prioritizes and foregrounds exam results and grades and fails to address the institutional racism in ‘ability grouping’ and course selection, it will not be possible to foster genuine mixing.


Sumi Hollingworth is a mother, partner, and sociologist. Having driven to Istanbul from London in a campervan with her family, she is currently a visiting scholar at Koc University. For ten years she worked in university academic research in London, where she also did her PhD in sociology of education. She then supervised London teachers in their doctoral studies. Her research expertise is in minority education and social justice, and her recent work explores ‘social mixing’ among urban youth. Fundamentally Sumi is interested in social relationships and how we attempt to connect across difference, and try to find alternative forms of value under western capitalism, and perhaps crucially, beyond it. She blogs about this at