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Neighborhood and Friendship Composition in Adolescence

  • Christofer Edling
  • Jens Rydgren
Publishing year: 2012-11-12
Language: English
Publication/Series: SAGE Open
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Sage Open

Abstract english

The social surroundings in which an individual grows up and spends his or her everyday life have an effect on his or her life chances. Much of the research into this phenomenon focuses on so-called neighborhood effects and has put particular emphasis on the negative effects of growing up in a poor neighborhood. Originating from the sociological study of inner-city problems in the United States, the research has recently been embraced by Scandinavian social scientists, who have generally assessed the phenomenon with reference to social network effects and the lock-in effects of ethnic enclaves. We critique the theoretical assumptions that we find in recent Scandinavian research and argue that a straightforward interpretation of neighborhood effects in terms of network effects is problematic. Our argument is based on an empirical analysis of friendship circles of ninth graders in Stockholm (N = 240). We conclude that the friendship networks of ninth graders extend well beyond the neighborhood, thus casting serious doubt on the network effects assumption of previous research. We also conclude that there is nothing in the reality of these ninth graders that confirms the established concept of the ethnic enclave.


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • ethnicity
  • adolescence
  • social interaction
  • friendship
  • neighborhood
  • sociologi
  • sociology


  • ISSN: 2158-2440
Christofer Edling
E-mail: christofer [dot] edling [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se


Faculty of Social Sciences

+46 46 222 88 62



Centre for Economic Demography




+46 46 222 88 62




I earned my PhD from Stockholm University in 1999. Between 2002 and 2005 I was Torgny Segerstedt Pro Futura Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study at Uppsala University. I received my Docent-title in 2003, and was appointed Associate Professor at Stockholm University in 2004. From 2006 to 2008 I was Head of the Department of Sociology at Stockholm university. Before coming to Lund in 2012 I served as Full Professor of Sociology at Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany. I have been a fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2004/05) and Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (2013).

Department of Sociology
Lund University
Visiting address: Sandgatan 11, House G, Lund
Postal address: Box 114 , SE-221 00 LUND, SWEDEN
Telephone: Student Office +46 46-222 88 44, Lund University Switchboard +46 46-222 00 00

Faculty of Social Sciences