Policy Press

Peer Relationships at School

New Perspectives on Migration and Diversity

By Emma Soye

Published

Feb 26, 2024

Page count

156 pages

ISBN

978-1529235753

Dimensions

203 x 127 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Feb 26, 2024

Page count

156 pages

ISBN

978-1529235760

Dimensions

203 x 127 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press
Peer Relationships at School
Download via OAPEN

Available Open Access digitally under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

It is increasingly recognized that ethnonational frameworks are inadequate when examining the complexity of social life in contexts of migration and diversity.

This book draws on ethnographic research in two UK secondary schools, considering the shifting roles of migration status, language, ethnicity, religion and precarity in young people’s peer relationships. The book challenges culturalist understandings of social cohesion, highlighting the divisive impacts of neoliberalism, from pervasive temporariness and domestic abuse to technologization and neighbourhood violence.

Using Martin Buber’s relational model, the book explores the interplay of ‘I-It’ boundary-making with reciprocal ‘I-Thou’ encounters, pointing to the creative power of these encounters to subvert, reimagine and even transform social difference. The author provides a pragmatic and ultimately hopeful view of the dynamics of diversity in everyday life, offering valuable insights for social policy and practice.

“In a time when migration is generally portrayed as a crisis, this fascinating ethnographic study provides a refreshing insight into young people’s capacity to live with difference.” Susanne Wessendorf, Coventry University

“Through a rich ethnographic account of peer encounters and interactions in school settings, Soye’s book offers an original and evocative picture of the shifting constellations of relationships and networks young people build and engage in and the factors that shape them.” Nando Sigona, University of Birmingham

Emma Soye is a researcher at Queen’s University Belfast and Assistant Editor at the Centre for Global Education.

Foreword - Susanne Wessendorf

1. Introduction

2. I-It, I-Thou, and Migration Studies

3. Migration, Memory, and Uncertain Futures

4. Societal Myths and the Consequences of Freedom

5. Funny Language? Curiosity, Contact, and Humour

6. Navigating Precarity

7. Conclusions and Beyond