Research shows that, when asked about urban policies, people tend to prioritise issues of social inequality, unemployment, the consequences of gentrification and the quality of urban environment rather than diversity per se. How can policy-makers associate diversity-related with policies dealing with social inequality? Could this association increase credibility of diversity-related policies? What is more, could such an association be an answer to upcoming xenophobic politics which put the blame for increasing poverty on immigrants and refugees?
Coordinated by Nicos Souliotis & Thomas Maloutas
Organisation of the workshop:
The workshop will start with two short presentations by an invited speaker, Sylvie Tissot, and a member of DIVERCITIES research team, Katharina Kullman. It will follow a discussion on urban policies related to diversity and social inequalities and on inhabitants’ expectations from such policies.
Diversity as a vehicle for gentrification? Rethinking the relationships between diversity and social inequalities. Sylvie Tissot
In the US as well as in numerous European countries, ‘diversity’ has become a marker for progressive attitudes. Being against diversity generally means to be in favor of segregation and exclusion. Yet this progressive attitude does not necessarily translate into a strong stance against inequalities. On the contrary gentrifiers have made ‘diversity’ a crucial element of their culture, which has allowed them to appropriate former working class neighborhoods. Rather than simply endorsing ‘diversity’, I suggest social scientists should analyze it as a social norm that entails strong power relations. A fieldwork in Boston, United States, examines the gentrifiers’ endorsement of diversity, in terms of class, race, but also sexual orientation, and their commitment to maintaining it. It demonstrates that their love of diversity lies on strict conditions as it is intrinsically linked to their capacity to control it.
Social Policy vs. Diversity Policy – Comparative findings from European Cities and Toronto. Katharina Kullman
Social heterogeneity is a basic condition of urban life. Therefore, political decision-making and agenda-setting in cities was always asked to mediate differences among local inhabitants. Often these differences are dealt with in social policies.
During the last years, a new trend is changing policy landscapes. The term ’diversity’ occurred as a modern frame to address and understand social differences in local societies. By implementing diversity-related policy goals, older forms of handling of social heterogeneity are extended and reshaped.
This presentation sets out to investigate how social heterogeneity is incorporated in urban policies. The comparative evaluation of the cases form Athens, Warsaw, Toronto, Paris and Leipzig further highlights the role of specific national and local contexts, frontiers and opportunities.