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Authenticity or skill-oriented individualism, neutrality or managerialism: diversity officers as modern public officials

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Schiller,  Maria
Socio-Cultural Diversity, MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Schiller, M. (2017). Authenticity or skill-oriented individualism, neutrality or managerialism: diversity officers as modern public officials. Journal of ethnic and migration studies, 43(10), 1662-1678. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2017.1295582.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-9D80-6
Abstract
Diversity has become a new buzzword in European cities. Newly introduced diversity policies have replaced previous multicultural policies with an approach that acknowledges difference in a more general sense. Drawing on in-depth fieldwork in diversity departments in Amsterdam, Antwerp and Leeds, this article investigates how the introduction of diversity policy impacted on the recruitment and the self-representations of public officials in newly created diversity departments. Despite a proclaimed move away from recognising minority-group specificities, many officials conceive their immigrant origin as a central element of their profiles. This continuation of a multicultural logic is interpreted as misunderstanding or resistance on the part of those meant to implement these policies, indicating agency of contemporary bureaucrats as well as creative space within bureaucracies. In order to place the shift from multicultural to diversity policy in the context of welfare state transformation and neoliberalism, I assess whether diversity officers endorse diversity policies in conjunction with New Public Management policies. However, I do not find an unequivocal promotion of both policies and my study thus does not confirm the common association of diversity policies with neoliberalism.