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Vielfalt and diversité: How local actors in France and Germany evaluate immigration and socio-cultural heterogeneity

MPS-Authors
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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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Lang,  Christine
Socio-Cultural Diversity, MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons38336

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

/persons/resource/persons180449

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

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Citation

Schiller, M., Lang, C., Schönwälder, K., & Moutselos, M. (2020). Vielfalt and diversité: How local actors in France and Germany evaluate immigration and socio-cultural heterogeneity. Comparative Migration Studies, 8: 48. doi:10.1186/s40878-020-00205-1.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-0102-5
Abstract
In both Germany and France, perceptions of immigration, diversity and their societalconsequences have undergone important transformations in the past two decades.However, existing research has only partially captured such processes. The“grandnarratives”of national approaches, while still influential, no longer explain contemporaryrealities. Further, analyses of national politics and discourses may not sufficiently reflectthe realities across localities and society more broadly. While emerging in differentnational contexts, little is known about how diversity is actually perceived by politicalstakeholders at the urban level. Given the key role of immigration and diversity in currentconflicts over Europe’s future, it is imperative to assess present-day conceptualisations ofmigration-related diversity among important societal actors.This article investigates perceptions and evaluations of socio-cultural heterogeneity byimportant societal actors in large cities. We contribute to existing literature by capturingan unusually broad set of actors from state and civil society. We also present data drawnfrom an unusually large number of cities. How influential is the perception of currentsociety as heterogeneous, and what forms of heterogeneity are salient? And is socio-cultural and migration-related heterogeneity evaluated as threatening or rather asbeneficial? Based on an original data set, this study explores the shared and contestedideas, the cognitive roadmaps of state and non-state actors involved in local politics.We argue that, in both German and French cities, socio-cultural heterogeneity isnowadays widely recognized as marking cities and often positively connoted. At thesame time, perceptions of the main features of diversity and of the benefits andchallenges attached to it vary. We find commonalities between French and Germanlocal actors, but also clear differences. In concluding, we suggest how and why nationalcontexts importantly shape evaluations of diversity.