Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

People, Place, and Politics: Local Factors Shaping Middle‐Class Practices in Mixed‐Class German Neighbourhoods

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Abstract:  This article takes a nuanced look at the role played by neighbourhood characteristics and local policies in facilitating or limiting the ways in which diversity‐oriented middle‐class families interact and deal with people of lower social classes in mixed‐class inner‐city neighbourhoods. The study draws on interviews and social network analysis conducted in neighbourhoods with different socio‐economic characteristics in the German cities of Hanover and Dusseldorf. A comparative view allows us to analyse how neighbourhood characteristics and local policies influence middle‐classes’ interactions across social boundaries. Our aim is to contribute to ongoing debates on urban policy options: In discussing the conditions encouraging cross‐boundary interactions of specific middle‐class fractions, we argue that the scope of local‐level action is not fully recognized in either policy or academic debates.

Keywords:  middle‐class families; mixed‐class neighbourhoods; network analysis; social boundary‐crossing; social interactions



© Heike Hanhörster, Isabel Ramos Lobato, Sabine Weck. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.