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Social Polis Social Platform on Cities and Social Cohesion www.socialpolis.eu.

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Presentation on theme: "Social Polis Social Platform on Cities and Social Cohesion www.socialpolis.eu."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Polis Social Platform on Cities and Social Cohesion

2 Social Polis Super Diversity, Multiple Identities and Place EF9 Thea Dukes and Sako Musterd University of Amsterdam

3 Our tasks Suggestions on what really should be done on the EF9 field 1.5 hours; Discussion 15 min. Theoretical input 30 min. Comments from three stakeholders 45 min. General discussion

4 Theoretical input: Key Question How can social cohesion in cities be fostered… Allowing for and doing justice to increasing diversity… And the development of multiple identities… In multiple time-space frameworks?

5 Context (urgency) City life and civic culture become more hybrid, diverse and multicultural (globalisation, flows) Multiple identities are developing In debates on diversity and identity there is a strong and growing emphasis on cultural (ethnic) diversity Policies tend to focus more on integration through assimilation and demand a break with former identities, which seems to confirm fault lines between groups (ERICarts) Integration debates tend to polarise, to evoke fear and feelings of insecurity and in practice impede advancement of social cohesion

6 Social cohesion, diversity, identity Social cohesion: coherence in social and political systems; ties; involvement; solidarity; tolerance; hanging together; reciprocity in (local) societies; common values; social networks; social order and social control; territorial belonging But Social cohesion at one scale may contrast with that at another scale (Van der Welle & Mamadouh) Increasing social cohesion (coherence) may conflict with respecting difference, and openness to others (us versus them; bonding versus bridging) (Giddens, Putnam)

7 Social cohesion, diversity, identity Diversity: visible or less visible difference: gender, age, ethnicity, etc., but also: handicapped, sexual preference, etc. Narrow definitions: on one aspect Wide definitions: acknowledge multidimensionality (ageing among migrants, for example)

8 Social cohesion, diversity, identity Identity: an individual’s – changing – comprehension of him/herself as a discrete/separate entity, constantly reformulated through interactions with the context Social identity: labelling as members of particular groups; multidimensional; multi-scale. Individuals identify themselves with sectors (a social class, subculture, ethnicity, religion, age, gender) and scales (nations, cities, neighbourhoods) People have multiple identities, unfolding in relation to economic, historical and political contexts and at different scales. This is a key understanding for policy

9 Changing time-space contexts Political, economic, demographic, technological and environmental changes in Europe (globalisation, EU enlargement, internet, ageing) Internal attitudes towards diversity (‘host- stranger’ relations) change (belonging, multiculturalism) and external processes are changing (role of supranational institutions, increasing international migration)

10 changing attitudes and ideologies Directly after WWII: inclusion; allowing for diversity although some were excluded (colonial relations; non-Europeans) Past decades: integration through active citizenship Most recently pushed to assimilation types of inclusion (‘they’ should become like ‘us’)

11 Yet, there are paradoxical and contested views in the debates Immigrants contribute to the city as a centre of innovation, knowledge production and cultural exchange Immigrants are a problem to the city, because ‘they’ do not integrate, keep their own identity, become radical, etc. + -

12 Shortcomings in the debate Concepts of diversity and identity are narrowly and unidimensionally defined, often limited to ethnicity (forgetting socio-economic, demographic and other cultural aspects); a cultural focus is insufficient for understanding problems in marginalized urban areas Diversity is hardly approached as an opportunity The tone of the debate reflects underlying cultural dichotomies of what is good and bad with negative effects on social cohesion, integration and self- identification, with compartmentalization as a result

13 Diversity related issues that trigger policy attention Large share of new immigrants is deprived social economically, and has language deficiencies Demographic changes (new family formation, ageing) Settlement in particular areas, which adds to segregation Participation in the labour market, education, culture and politically Ethnic identity, cultural identity, national identity, radicalisation

14 Typical policy responses Focus on cultural diversity and ethnic difference Variation between countries:  Social cohesion approach (assimilation; combat diversity, remove ‘deficit’)  Diversity and dialogue approach (multicultural; provide more opportunities, celebrate differentiation) Incidentally group targetting (but risk of strengthening group identities and increase of separation and marginalisation) Area-based urban policy (contested social engineering; risk of stigmatisation; inefficient)

15 Previous research FP 4, 5, 6 (especially ENGIME, LIMITS, SUS.DIV) FP 6, priority 7: new forms of citizenship and cultural identities (20 projects) FP 7 (EURISLAM) socio-cultural integration of Muslims in West-European countries (start 2009) EU report on Research on social sciences and humanities identified one area to be prioritised in FP7: New societal issues; diversity and identity ERICarts: sharing diversity (key publication) 2008, see above.

16 Previous research (findings) Description of pathways to exclusion Role of housing in safeguarding social cohesion Redistribution reduces segregation Diversity may have negative impact on social and economic outcomes Dominance, rather than fragmentation has negative effects Context is crucial; appropriate institutions and democracy may reduce the negative effects

17 Gaps in research 1. Discourses and constructions of diversity and identity 2. The impact of space and place on identity 3. The impact of diversity in residential, employment and leisure environments on inclusion or exclusion 4. Learning from history 5. The multi-dimensional (ethnicity, education, socio- economic position) and multi-scalar character of diversity and identity 6. The individual perspective (life courses and integration in varying contexts) 7. Policy research: rhetoric versus policy practice 8. Governing diversity: national and local practices of integration policy Concepts Context and history Bottom up Policy

18 Policy: ways forward Clarify meanings assigned to and representations of diversity, identity and social cohesion Offer space for diverse identities Rethink the concept of full citizenship, link equality and diversity to equal rights Focus on changes in integration over time (requires longitudinal research) Exchange policy practices

19 Proposed research topics Longitudinal research aimed at ‘neighbourhood impacts’. Understanding levels of exclusion at different scales. Lessons from the past and from ‘the other’. Individual life courses of diverse citizens in various socio-spatial contexts. Diversity, identification, ageing and place.

20 Statements (1) 1.There is a field of tension around diversity. It is in the human nature to coalesce around particular (characteristics of) diversities as a basis for identities and communities. This implies drawing boundaries between ‘oneself’ and’ ‘others’. One has to respect diversity and processes of identification while fostering social cohesion. This is a mission impossible for policy makers. 2.Diversity is appealing and appalling. People do not always want diversity. At times they try to avoid it and in the end they (literally) like to be at a ‘safe distance’ from others. This is really a question of the middle class and social mixing (based on LeGalès). 3.The one-side emphasis on cultural diversity, in debates and policy, results in a tunnel vision, which is counterproductive for fostering social cohesion. A cultural focus is insufficient, for example, for understanding problems in marginalized areas as actually a whole range of differences produces unfairness and inequality.

21 Statements (2) 4.Diversity is a fact. In view of the increasing diversity and multiple points of reference for identification, social cohesion is an illusion. Citizenship is the only realistic basis for cohesion. 5.The ‘imagined European homogeneity’ fundamentally impedes all forms of integration and social cohesion. 6.Diversity is often merely depicted as (cultural) problems. As an economic asset, however, it yields money. 7.The ‘social cohesion’ approach that has gained ground is the guise under which the absorption of differences is pursued, via assimilation of culturally different groups. 8.Multiculturalism is controversial precisely because of its (in)compatibility with national unity.


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