Hackney has become ‘focus of academic study’

Hackney is one of the most highly-researched places in the UK, a conference has heard

August 30, 2014

The trendy borough of east London, which was considered one of the capital’s most run-down areas in the 1980s, has attracted the attention of around 20 academic geographers in recent years, the Royal Geographical Society’s annual international conference in London heard on 29 August.

Sarah Neal, reader in sociology at the University of Surrey, told the conference, which was attended by about 2,000 delegates from around the world, that Hackney had become a focus of academic study owing to the social change seen there over the past 30 years.

Literary and media interest in the area had led to many academic studies in the area, despite other boroughs showing similar trends of gentrification.

“It is a very symbolic urban location – one of migration, political activism, community organisation, social mix, deprivation, affluence, counter culture and creativity,” said Dr Neal, a Hackney resident.

The proximity of ethnically diverse populations – as well as rich and poor – living next to each other had also has heightened researchers’ interest in Hackney, she said.

“An influx of the affluent middle classes, social mobility within some of Hackney’s established communities, continuing social deprivation and the arrival of new global migrants is mixing it up more,” she said.

“Having attracted a young, fashionable crowd, it is now a cool yet paradoxical place in which social and economic polarisations are increasingly extreme.”

While research attention was not necessarily negative, there is some sense of “research fatigue” related to Hackney, she added.

However, the complexity of the borough’s populations, Hackney’s history, the rapid pace of change and the strong cooperation of local authorities are likely to keep researchers interested in the area, she said.


You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest