Path-dependency in segregation and social networks in the Netherlands

A.M. Heringa, G.S. Bolt, M.J. Dijst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Policy-makers in industrialised countries have been implementing
polices to create neighbourhoods with diverse populations in the
hopes of increasing and ameliorating inter-ethnic relations. However,
social networks seem to remain largely segregated. The composition
of people’s social networks is traditionally explained by population
compositions and subsequent meeting opportunities versus
preferences for homophilious interaction. Little attention has been
paid to the social construction behind these two factors. This study
of Turkish and native Dutch individuals in two neighbourhoods in
Rotterdam from a time-geographic perspective shows that path-dependency
plays a large role in keeping social networks segregated.
The social circles individuals engage in during their lives are linked
together. Individuals are introduced to places, activities and people by
their existing social networks, starting with their parents and siblings.
As such, they are likely to roam in spaces dominated by people of
their own ethnicity, which lessens the opportunity to meet people
from other ethnic backgrounds. This role of people’s existing social
networks in ethnic segregation has been overlooked in the integration
debate so far.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-690
Number of pages23
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Segregation; social networks; path-dependency; time geography; inter-ethnic contact


Dive into the research topics of 'Path-dependency in segregation and social networks in the Netherlands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this