Diversity in the City

Martiniello, M. & Piquard, B.
Publication language
Date published
01 Jan 2002
Research, reports and studies
Conflict, violence & peace, Protection, human rights & security, Urban

It seems the world is becoming increasingly uniform culturally. To a
certain degree, this observation is correct in the sense that a global
mass culture is certainly being disseminated and sold all over the
planet. But the world is at the same time increasingly diversified in terms
of ethno-cultural identities. The tension between the trend toward
cultural uniformity and the trend toward differentiation of identities is
well captured by observing the evolution of social dynamics in cities.
Most medium-sized and large European cities are today increasingly
fragmented socially, economically and ethnically. Some of them are
even becoming socially, ethnically and racially ghettoised. But at the
same time, European cities remain places where intergroup encounters
can develop and where cultural production takes place. The cities are
the crossroads between the local and the global.
The first aim of this book is to discuss the changes affecting the city
and the role played by cultural diversity and ethno-national identities in
those changes. The second aim is to examine some crucial issues and
aspects of the current process of cultural diversification of cities and its
impact on urban socio-economic, political and cultural activities.
In October 2000, we decided to bring together in Liège, Belgium,
scholars from a large number of European universities to discuss issues
linked to cultural and ethnic diversity at the city level in a multidisciplinary
perspective. The aim was to form a relatively small group in a conducive
atmosphere to brainstorm on the subject. Eleven papers were presented,
each of them discussed by other scholars in order to feed the debate,
to share approaches and views before opening the floor. Policy makers,
politicians and representatives of the civil society also took part in the