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Understanding the gap between reality and expectation: Local social engagement and ethnic concentration


  • Vassilis Tselios

    (University of Thessaly, Greece)

  • Philip McCann

    (University of Groningen, Netherlands)

  • Jouke van Dijk

    (University of Groningen, Netherlands)


It is widely known that there is a strong relationship between local ethnic concentration and local social engagement. This article attempts to take a step forward by analysing the gap between the real and the expected local social engagement and its association with local ethnic concentration. Understanding this gap may assist policy makers with better urban planning aiming for high social cohesion, particularly in those cities with high ethnic concentrations. Using the case of the Netherlands, this article finds a positive association between the real and the expected local social engagement, but this is higher for native Dutch people than for immigrants (i.e. Turks, Moroccans, Surinamese and Antilleans). This article also finds that as local ethnic concentration increases, Moroccans and Turks seem to meet their own expectations, but this effect is stronger for Moroccans. This is likely to indicate that an increase in local ethnic concentration assists Moroccans and Turks to maintain their cultural traditions, as they are able to derive benefits from each other and offer support to one another within a locality.

Suggested Citation

  • Vassilis Tselios & Philip McCann & Jouke van Dijk, 2017. "Understanding the gap between reality and expectation: Local social engagement and ethnic concentration," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 54(11), pages 2592-2612, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:54:y:2017:i:11:p:2592-2612

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