P3
Transnationalism, diaspora and the crisis of multiculturalism in Europe

Convenors:
Ruba Salih (University of Bologna)
Steven Vertovec (Max Planck Institute)
Chair:
Ruba Salih, Steven Vertovec
Discussant:
Ralph Grillo
Location:
Victoria LT
Start time:
20 September, 2006 at 9:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

Multiculturalism in Europe is now undergoing a crisis of legitimacy, replaced by assimilationist policies and discourses. This workshop aims at focusing on the repercussions of these shifts on first and second generations diasporic and/or transnational actitivies and spheres.

Long abstract:

Transnationalism and diaspora have emerged in the last fifteen years as powerful new paradigms through which to understand contemporary social, cultural and political transformation affecting migrants and the societies where they live. Together with the dramatic changes in technologies of travel and communication, multiculturalism and the emphasis on difference may have played an important role in forging transnational and diasporic attachments. It has been argued that by stretching their lives through two or more countries contemporary migrants can live simultaneously in two or more societies. Diaspora, on the other hand, entails different ways of identifying with a homeland or an ancestral community, that do not necessarily involve physical recurring returns and/or transnational activities. However, although transnationalism has been often represented as a challenge to nation-states assimilationist practices, nowadays, it is becoming increasingly evident that transnational practices and affiliations are highly encouraged as part of sending states nation-building projects. Indeed, for sending states it is crucial that transnational linkages and affiliations do not disappear with the second and third generations and, in this framework, many sending states are encouraging and promoting dual citizenship and dual membership. However, some scholars have been suggesting that multiculturalism, that dominated much of the European public discourse during the nineties, is now undergoing a deep crisis of legitimacy, with assimilation increasingly replacing the politics of difference. Against this background, the aim of this invited workshop is to bring together young scholars whose research focuses on issues such as: continuities and differences between first and second generation diasporic and/or transnational actitivies and spheres, the transformation of public discourse and practices around difference and their effects on transnational and diasporic ties.