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Profile summary

  • Visiting Informal Academic
  • Honorary Visiting Senior Research Fellow
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Hist, Rel St, Soc, SP&C
  • Social Policy & Criminology

Professional biography

Dr. Sarah Neal is principal investigator on the ESRC funded project on Living multiculture: the new geographies of ethnicity and the changing formations of multiculture in England. She is working with Allan Cochrane, Giles Mohan and Katy Bennett (all co-investigators) and Akile Ahmet (research associate), as well as Hannah Jones. She is also Reader in Sociology at the University of Surrey.

Research interests

  • Ethnicity and belonging
  • Multiculture and policy development and interventions
  • Media, race and cultural representations
  • Rural space, community and place.

This work reflects my research interests which are clustered around the areas of ethnicity/ies, identity/ies, multiculture, representation, community and corresponding boundaries of belonging and exclusion. My research looks to empirically scrutinise how these boundaries are variously reflected in, and constitutive of, particular moments and narratives of identity and nation in contemporary Britain. It has incorporated a focus on senses of location and rural spaces and the ways in which these shape formations and notions of belonging, citizenship and inclusion. In particular it is the contradictions, tensions and conditionalities that cut across these formations and notions that bind my research concerns.

It is these areas that relate to my past and current PhD supervision and I welcome potential PhD students with similar interests.

I have been awarded an ESRC grant for her two-year project Living Multiculture: the new geographies of ethnicity and the changing formations of multiculture in England (ES/J007676/1). As Principal Investigator I will work with Prof Allan Cochrane (Open University), Prof Giles Mohan (Open University) and Dr Katy Bennett (University of Leicester).

I'm a member of the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG) and the OpenSpace Research Centre.

Recent publications

A selection of my research publications can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.


Neal, S. (forthcoming 2012) Race, Multiculture and Social Policy. London: Palgrave Macmillan (with Alice Bloch and John Solomos)

Neal, S. (2009) Rural Identities: Ethnicity and Community in the English Countryside. Farnborough: Ashgate

Neal, S. (2009) Community: Welfare, Crime and Society. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill Open University Press (edited with Gerry Mooney)

Neal, S. (2006) The New Countryside? Ethnicity, Nation and Exclusion in Contemporary Rural Britain. Bristol: The Policy Press (edited with Julian Agyeman)

Neal, S. (1998) The Making of Equal Opportunities Policies in Universities. Buckinghamshire: The Open University Press

Guest Editor of Journal Special Issue

Neal, S. (2005) (Eds) Migration and Citizenship, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Special Issue, Vol. 28, No.3 (with Gail Lewis)

Journal Articles (post 2000)

Neal, S. (2011) 'Multiculture and community in a new city space', Journal of Intercultural Studies, Vol. 32, No. 2: 133-150 (with Jamie Kesten, Allan Cochrane and Giles Mohan)

Neal, S. (2010) 'Welfare worries': mapping the directions of welfare futures in the contemporary UK. Research, Policy and Planning, 27(3), pp. 141-150 (with Gerry Mooney).

Neal, S. (2009) Researching Up? Interviews, Emotionality and Policy Making Elites, Journal of Social Policy, Vol. 38, Issue 04: 689-707 (with Eugene McLaughlin).

Neal, S. (2008) Rural be/longing: community, conviviality and social organizations in rural England, Sociology Vol. 42, No. 2: 279-297 (with Sue Walters).

Neal, S. (2007) 'The public sphere and public interventions on race and nation: intellectuals, policy formation and the Parekh Report' Cultural Studies, 21, 6: 911-931 (with Eugene McLaughlin)

Neal, S. (2007) '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: 252-275 (with Sue Walters)

Neal, S. (2006) 'Strangers asking strange questions? A methodological narrative on researching belonging and identity in the English countryside', Journal of Rural Studies, Vol. 22, No. 1: 177-189 (with Sue Walters)

Neal, S. (2005) 'Contemporary political contexts, changing terrains and revisited discourses' in G. Lewis and S. Neal (Eds) Migration and Citizenship, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Special Issue, Vol. 28, No. 3: 423-444 (with Gail Lewis).

Neal, S. (2004) 'Misrepresenting the multicultural nation: the policy process, news media management and the Parekh Report', Policy Studies, Vol. 25, No. 3: 155-173 (with Eugene McLaughlin)

Neal, S. (2003) 'Scarman, Macpherson and the media: how newspapers respond to race-centred policy interventions, Journal of Social Policy, Vol. 32, Part 1: 55-74

Neal, S. (2002) 'Rural landscapes, representations and racism: examining multicultural citizenship and policy-making in the English countryside', Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 25, No.3: 442-461

Chapters in books (post 2000)

Neal, S. (2009) Cyber crime and transgression in J. Muncie, D. Talbot and R. Walters (Eds) Crime: Local and Global, Devon: Willan.

Mooney, G. and Neal, G. (2009) Community: themes and debates in Mooney and S. Neal (Eds) Community: Welfare and Crime. Maidenhead McGraw Hill

Neal, S. (2006) 'Remaking English Ruralities: processes of belonging and becoming, continuity and change in racialised spaces' (with Julian Agyeman) in S. Neal and J. Agyeman (Eds) The New Countryside? Ethnicity, Nation and Exclusion in Contemporary Rural Britain. Bristol: The Policy Press

Neal, S. (2000) 'Feared and revered bodies: mapping media representations of racialised and gendered bodies: a case study' in L. McKie and N. Watson (eds) Organising Bodies: Institutions, Policy and Work, London: Palgrave