White Middle-Class Families and Sociocultural Diversity in Schools: A Literature Review

  • Macarena HernándezEmail author


School choice parental practices have been extensively researched worldwide. Recently, an emergent line of studies has focused on the case of mostly white middle-class parents, who, in contrast to the dominant trend identified by sociological research, choose or are willing to choose a socially, racially and/or ethnically diverse school for their children. The purpose of this article is to review the literature published between 2000 and 2017 on this nascent field, exploring the characteristics of families’ ‘against the grain’ choice processes, the parental practices deployed for managing school diversity, and their consequences for intra-school integration. Results highlight (a) the tensions underlying parental choices for diversity, (b) the multiple individual and collective practices that families implement to confront sociocultural school mix, and (c) the implications for the emergence of social and racial/ethnic intra-school segregation and power dynamics within communities. Based on the findings presented, the article discusses suggestions for further research.


White middle-class families School diversity Urban education School segregation Literature review 



I would like to thank Alejandro Carrasco for his valuable comments on ealier drafts of this manuscript, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback. Funding was provided by Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CL) (Grant Nos. CONICYT PFCHA/DOCTORADO NACIONAL/2016-21160130 and CONICYT PIA CIE160007).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile

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