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Living together 'in' diversity. National Societies in the Multicultural Age

Venue: Budapest (Hungary)
Period: May 21 - 22, 2012


Contemporary European societies have been recently characterized as having entered the age of 'super-diversity'. Migratory flows in particular have contributed to this transformation, due to the heterogeneous ethno-cultural, and religious background of present migrants, as well as their social status, age, and mobility patterns. Among the effects this transformation has brought about is the increased challenge posed to the constitutive principle of the nation-state, i.e., the assumption that identity (nation) and politics (state) can and should be mutually constituent and spatially congruent. Thus, unsurprisingly, many states have started perceiving diversity as a 'problem', potentially threatening national unity, while anti-immigration and xenophobic attitudes have experienced a rapid surge.

Existing scholarship has offered insightful critical analyses of this backlash against diversity, documenting the rise of repressive state measures designed to limit access of new migrants to the national territory and citizenship. Other scholars have instead moved away from the idea of the nation-state, proposing either post-national solutions, which decouple the cultural (nation) from the political (state), or transnational paradigms, which implicitly discard the focus on the nation-state as not only obsolete but also politically questionable. Yet, despite important insights from this scholarship, social and political life continues to remain largely structured by discourses, resources and institutions articulated at the national scale.
It is therefore the aim of the proposed conference to explore how 'living together in diversity' is imagined, narrated, organized,
justified, and practiced within contemporary national societies. With the stress on 'in' rather than 'with' diversity we want to move away
from reifying the dominant 'majority' society perspective, which assumes diversity as something 'carried' solely by immigrants and something that the 'native' society has to cope with.


The participants

The keynote address will be delivered by Tariq Modood (University of Bristol). Other speakers include:

  • Ezio Colombo
  • Patricia Ehrkamp (University of Kentucky)
  • Mary Gilmartin (NUI, Maynooth)
  • Elaine Ho (National University of Singapore)
  • Atsuko Ichijo (Kingston University, London)
  • Eleonore Kofman (Middlesex University)
  • Liz Mavroudi (Loughborough University)
  • Gill Valentine (University of Leeds)


Organizer and Partners

Information & contacts

Dr. Tatiana Matejskova
Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology
Central European University
Zrinyi utca, 14, 1051, Budapest
tel.: +36-1-327-3000/2327; Fax: +36-1-328-3501


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