W011
Super-diversity in European cities and its implications for anthropological research

Convenors:
Susanne Wessendorf (London School of Economics)
Kristine Krause (University of Amsterdam)
Location:
Biol B75
Start time:
20 September, 2006 at 11:30
Session slots:
4

Short abstract:

This workshop looks at the methodological, analytical and conceptual challenges that come with anthropological research in urban areas characterised by super-diversity in terms of class, ethnicities, religions and regions of origin.

Long abstract:

Anthropological studies on migrants in urban contexts have been characterised by a tension between two methodological strands: one approach has focused on migrant communities categorised on the grounds of region of origin, ethnicity and religion, while the other approach has focused on neighbourhoods, places and urban environments and the interaction between groups and individuals. The first approach is informed by a more 'traditional' anthropological focus on ethnic groups, and allows an in-depth ethnographic analysis of cultural and social practices of individuals with shared historical and cultural backgrounds. It has been prevalent in earlier studies of migration and the recent studies on transnationalism, but criticised for its tendency to essentialise groups and ignore overlapping networks. The second approach is influenced by longstanding interest in urban pluralism and sheds light on cross-cutting ties and negotiations of belonging in specific localities. However, it makes an in-depth analysis of migrants' cultural and historical backgrounds difficult. <br/>The proposed workshop aims to tackle the methodological, analytical and conceptual challenges that come with the possible tension between the two approaches. It invites papers based on research in 'super-diverse' urban contexts in Europe with people of non-migrant background, new and long established migrants, people of different regions of origin, ethnicity, religion, age, class, education and legal status. Of particular interest are papers which focus on localities of every-day encounter and social spaces, some of which are strongly shaped by translocal activities. Such spaces are, for example, religious groups, political, ethnic, and professional associations, ethnic businesses, community centres and youth clubs. Participants are invited to reflect on the challenges of research in super-diverse urban contexts in order to understand everyday diversity in European cities.<br/>Keynote: Steve Vertovec, University of Oxford.