Presentation on theme: "Paul White Professor of European Urban Geography University of Sheffield, UK Plenary address to the IMISCOE cross-cluster theory conference, Lisbon, 13."— Presentation transcript:
Paul White Professor of European Urban Geography University of Sheffield, UK Plenary address to the IMISCOE cross-cluster theory conference, Lisbon, 13 – 15 May 2009
Policy should follow from research. But arguably the ideologies behind policy have led research Policy goals throughout Europe: Reduce the significance of the ethnic dimension in the public and policy sphere Encourage ‘them’ to be and behave more like ‘us’ Strong elements of the elevation of the ethnic dimension as the explanation of everything But is the policy discourse shared by all?
“Differential take-up” – Google search results in the native language: United Kingdom The Netherlandsc 3000 mentions Germany Italy Spain Francec 500 mentions Greece Austria Portugalc 100 mentions
1. Some thoughts on Putnam on the ethnic dimension of social relations 2. Some thoughts on longitudinal issues in research 3. Observations on assumptions underlying policy positions 4. Some thoughts on methods and research approaches
Putnam’s definition of social capital: “social networks and the associated norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness” (2007, p. 137) Social capital is an interdisciplinary term, drawing from sociology and economics Paralleled by economic capital human capital cultural capital (Bourdieu) possiblysymbolic capital
Distinction between ‘bonding ’and ‘bridging’ capital ‘Bonding’ capital links like people together ‘Bridging’ capital links people who are unlike Bonding works within groups: bridging works between groups 2007 paper (E pluribus unum) comes to the conclusion that where ethnic diversity is high, levels of both bonding and bridging capital are reeduced
Observations on Putnam: 1. Individuals or groups? 2. What constitutes a group? Who decides? 3. The fluidity of identities. And “The linkage between identity and social capital is only beginning to be explored” (Putnam, 2007, p. 159) 4. Distinctions between bonding and bridging capital. 5. The emphasis on trust rather than interactions 6. Difficulties over the longitudinal
Age Year Events e.g. 9/11 Life histories by cohort Advantages and disadvantages? Major migration events
Age Year Events e.g. 9/11 Advantages and disadvantages? Period analyses
Age Year Events e.g. 9/11 The difficult to fulfil elements Limited possibilities from surveys, but …
For neighbourhoods, longitudinal studies are likely to require multiple data sources. But long-term longitudinal evidence is important for Putnam’s theories of social capital, because of his expectation of ‘short-term pain’ for ‘long-term gain’.
Putnam’s own evidence on longitudinal change is weak study produced no evidence of inter- generational change (although only from period data). Anecdotes were more supportive. But he claims that survey data (e.g. in the UK) shows an increase in tolerance.
Putnam: “The central challenge for modern, diversifying societies is to create a new, broader sense of ‘we’.” (2007, p. 139)
Scholten and Holzacker (2009) and the re- examination of Dutch policy discourses in the light of bonding and bridging capital But what about the fundamental bases of policy – to reduce the significance of ethnic dimensions, and to encourage ‘them’ to be like ‘us’? Would these bases be agreed to by all parties?
1. Tamil refugees in London (Healey, 2009) – ‘Success’ defined solely within the group. Very little bridging capital: almost all is bonding capital. No desire to bridge. 2. Pakistanis in Britain - - the rhetoric of elderly women (Khan 2003) - studies of younger men (Rowntree Foundation 2008)
And if the policy desire is to create bridging capital, does this apply at group or at individual level? Is increasing social mixing really ‘a good thing’? And for whom? What about policies aimed at enabling more hyphenated identities?
Should policy have increasing bridging ties as a primary goal, or as a recognised secondary outcome (e,g, of education, employment, housing etc policies operating for the individual)? Better to bond first, then to bridge? (Barack Obama in Chicago) Can change be speeded up? What about the expressed wishes of some parties? Might mixing reduce social capital? (Putnam)
1. Need to re-examine assumptions about what the ethnic dimension of social relations should be like 2. Clarity over individuals or groups 3. If individuals, allow fluidity – don’t categorise externally 4. If groups, allow internal definitions and mobility
5. Consider behaviour as well as attitudes. ‘Relations’ are about transactions. 6. Focus on the neighbourhood, but also allow for other interactions in other spaces – workplaces, leisure, the internet. Transnational space may be important. 7. Recognise the value of qualitative and in depth methods. Issues are complex and subtle.
The wider our range of ‘interesting observations’ the better our knowledge should be. Putnam: “Exploring the dynamics, as opposed to the comparative statics, of diversity and social capital requires entirely different methods” (2007, p. 159).