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16 March 2022 - 16 March 2022

1:00PM - 2:00PM

Online seminar using Zoom

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Part of the School of Education Research Seminar Series.

Unpacking the Neighborhood/School Bundle: Processes of Residential Decision-Making

Professor Elliot Weininger, SUNY Brockport and Professor Annette Lareau, University of Pennsylvania

This will be a virtual seminar using Zoom. Contact for details about how to take part.

Most children in the United States attend schools in their neighborhood. Thus, for these students, school choice is triggered by parents’ residential decisions. Yet, the pathways through which parents make neighborhood decisions, and the information and resources they draw on, have not always been sufficiently developed. In this paper, drawing on in-depth interviews with a class diverse sample of white and Black families with young children, we trace three key pathways. First, some families, particularly working-class families and single-parents of all class backgrounds, restricted their housing choices to be within minutes of their family members who supported them. This was the essential factor. Second, some families relied on informal networks to vouch for neighborhoods; here, their information was vague; their decisions were rapid. Despite the enormity of the choice, there was little evidence of intensive labor investments to develop informed decisions. Third, some families did carry out careful research of home options (and school districts), particularly if they were moving from one neighborhood to another with school-aged children. Taken together, we need to conceive of multiple pathways to home residence and school choice.


Professor Annette Lareau, University of Pennsylvania

  • Influenced by thework of Pierre Bourdieu, focused on variations in family life:
  • Interested in methodology:

        Home Advantage:  Social Class and Parental Intervention in Elementary Education, 2nd Edition, 2000.

Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, 2nd Edition, 2011

Sackett, Blair and Annette Lareau, Seeking Refuge, Finding Inequality, University of California Press (a work in progress)

Listening to People: A Practical Guide to Interviewing, Participant Observation, Data Analysis, and Writing it All Up, forthcoming August 2021, University of Chicago Press

 Recent work:

  • Collecting data on:

Lareau, Weininger, and Warner, “Structural constraints and the School Choice Strategies of Black American Middle-class Families, forthcoming British Journal of Sociology of Education

Sherelle Ferguson and Annette Lareau, “Class Tensions Within Same-Race Friendships:

The Perspective of Working-Class College Students”

 Adults who are white and Black in wealthy families (usually over 10 million)

             => family cohesion and conflict


Professor Elliot B. Weininger

Elliot B. Weininger is Professor of Sociology at SUNY College at Brockport.  He has a longstanding theoretical interest in the concept of social class, and empirical interests in class differences in childrearing and in families’ ability to navigate school choice policies.  Recent publications include the co-edited (with Annette Lareau and Omar Lizardo) volume Ritual, Emotion, Violence: Studies on the Micro-Sociology of Randall Collins and (with Annette Lareau and Amanda Cox) “Parental Challenges to Organizational Authority in an Elite School District: The Role of Cultural, Social, and Symbolic Capital” in Teachers College Record.