Ethnic desegregation and ‘resegregation’ in northern English schools

Serena Hussain

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    This article discusses findings on inter- and intra-ethnic friendship choices among Pakistani, Bangladeshi and white students within three schools characterised by varying ethnic composition and levels of diversity. Although many participants perceived ethnically diverse schools positively, students commonly described the majority of their friends and, in particular, close friends, as belonging to the same ethnic group. Pakistani and Bangladeshi students, although often homogenised as South Asian within academic studies on school segregation, were far more conscious of their own and the others’ cultural distinction than discussed by literature on ethnic minority – and in particular – Muslim youth. The findings demonstrate how presenting ethnic minority concentrations as self-segregated or resegregated can mask the everyday realities of students, who navigate racism, whether subtle or explicit, and find safe and accepting spaces to express their ethnic identities. Through using students’ own accounts of negotiating such challenges, this article adds to our understanding of young peoples’ experiences of multi-ethnic school settings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)882-903
    Number of pages22
    Issue number6
    Early online date15 Nov 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

    Bibliographical note

    This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (


    • Racism
    • homophily
    • friendship choice
    • ethnic minorities in schools
    • race riots

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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