Negotiating diversity in Expanded European Public Spaces
The question of diversity and integration has occupied public debates, political agendas and social sciences for decades.
In Europe, an important issue pertains to the settlement of post-immigrant ethno-religious groups, along with the expression and organization of collective identities; claims for participation/representation and recognition; the role of religion in public space; and the increasing influence of diaspora and transnational politics. PLURISPACE’s point of departure is that these questions cannot be properly addressed without at the same time taking into account the multilevel character of the European public space they unfold within, the multiple characters of the groups (some identified by national origins, others by religion etc.) and the multiple modes of integration. Within such a complex European space, we identify four policy and theoretical approaches to diversity management and understanding of public space: multiculturalism, interculturalism, transnationalism and cosmopolitanism.
Each approach has its own conception of public space, diversity, equality and solidarity. Most analyses of post-immigrant incorporation have been single-theory-oriented, leading to multiple, contested and controversial interpretations of integration and democratic public spaces. No systematic assessment that compares and contrasts them has thus far been undertaken. PLURISPACE uses the four theoretical perspectives to understand how the multilevel European public space manages diversity. PLURISPACE’s main aim is to contribute to the theory and practice of integration and diversity management in Europe. Empirically evaluating post-immigrant ethno-religious minorities’ perceptions and adoptions of these different normative approaches will allow us to clarify the nature and relations among multiple conceptions of integration in the European public space that both overlap and diverge. PLURISPACE’s focus on European public space encompasses the EU, affiliated non-members (Norway), a new category of ex-EU-member (UK), and the transnational dimension.