Superdiversity: reconfiguration of cultural complexity of the contemporary contexts

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Conceptualization of the social-cultural contexts of the 21st century in terms of superdiversity implies diversification of the current diversity due to the changing patterns of global migration and transnationalization. The concept of superdiversity introduced by S. Vertovec means a new way for describing and analyzing contemporary social and cultural processes. The author considers three interrelated aspects of superdiversity: descriptive, methodological and practical (political). As a rule, superdiversity implies new immigrants who move from a larger number of countries than before, including those that did not have colonial relations with the places attracting immigrants. The emerging contexts of superdiversity are not limited to the growth of “diversity in terms of ethnicity” - a multidimensional approach to superdiversity allows it to reflect patterns of social inequality, creolization and the experience of social contacts determined by diversification of migration channels and social statuses of immigrants, of their ethnic, gender and age characteristics. Under the permanent mobility, multiple identities and diverse transnational practices, not everything can be represented in terms of ‘we-they’, ‘majority-minority’, ‘inside-outside’. Therefore, superdiversity is not related to the Other or minorities but presents a new framework for all residents of the country, regardless of their origin. Moreover, in local contexts, cultural diversity is increasingly perceived as a norm. Thus, the concept of superdiversity contributes to the development of a new cultural narrative that would replace the outdated concepts of assimilation and multiculturalism.

About the authors

M. S Kuropjatnik

Saint Petersburg State University

Author for correspondence.
Universitetskaya Nab., 7-9, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russia


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