W079
Globalising neighbourhoods or tradition-based parallel societies? Studying migration and cultural diversity in rural areas

Convenors:
Heidi Armbruster (Southampton University)
Sabine Strasser (University of Bern)
Location:
4
Start time:
27 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

Our workshop examines diversifying local neighbourhoods in provincial regions. It explores forms of co-operation and dis-integration, and the ways in which they both relate to larger discursive and political realities, and generate locally specific forms of lived diversity.

Long abstract:

Anthropologists often describe migrant contexts as multiply dispersed new transnational neighbourhoods or as ethnic or religious environments which are marked by complex processes of cultural belonging. These accounts often share an emphasis on cultural change and locally negotiated diversity. At the same time, and particularly observable in many European countries, political and media discourses repeatedly reassess specific migrant contexts as sites of tradition-based inequalities or failed 'integration'. Thus, while anthropologists (amongst others) increasingly highlight the locally negotiated and malleable character of 'culture' under processes of globalisation, many public discourses maintain scenarios of essentialised cultural threats and suggest clear boundaries between 'ethnic minorities' and putative majority communities. Such contradictory discursive dynamics that hold ideas of creative cultural complexities against those of disturbing cultural anxieties, are readily associated with global cities. However, they bear equal relevance for small towns and provincial regions, which researchers of migration and globalisation have much less focused on in recent years. The workshop wants to address diversifying neighbourhoods and forms of cohabitation in rural areas that have been formed by both, migration and larger socio-economic processes. We particularly invite papers that address the following: Ways of forming or activating local neighbourhoods that span multicultural and transnational constituencies; politics of space and multicultural co-existence; local forms of agency and their links (or challenges) to regional, national or supranational (e.g. EU) policies and governance issues (e.g. citizenship, family reunion, residence, anti-discrimination) - and to public discourses on e.g. 'integration' or 'gender equality'; rurality and diversity.