Conference Agenda

JS_RN35_RN37_07: Diverse cities and neighbourhoods and their dynamics of change
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Patricia Pereira, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Location: BS.3.23
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road


Measuring the Role of Ethnic Diversity and Out-Group Size in Dutch Neighborhoods: A Mediating Effect of Neighborhood Cohesion on Fear of Crime

Iris Glas1, Roel Jennissen2, Godfried Engbersen1

1Erasmus University Rotterdam; 2The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy

A lot of scholarly attention has been paid to the consequences of living in an ethnically diverse society. Various studies have found that more ethnic diversity in the neighborhood is related to 1) lower levels of social cohesion and 2) higher levels of fear of crime. The level of ethnic diversity is generally measured by diversity indices such as the Herfindal-Hirschman-Index (HHI). In this study, we argue that current diversity indices fail to detect actual diversity effects primarily because these diversity measures correlate strongly with ethnic minority share. We therefore propose an alternative: a group-specific HHI that measures the diversity of the out-group in a neighborhood. As a result, every ethnic group in a neighborhood obtains their own diversity score. We apply our advanced HHI to study the consequences of diversity, while controlling for relative out-group size. In addition, we address the potential interrelationship between fear of crime and neighborhood cohesion. We apply multilevel equation modeling techniques to analyze the different relationships and use data of the Dutch Safety Monitor (N = 86,382) in combination with detailed register data. Our study is one of the first to detect a ‘true’ diversity effect on cohesion. We do not find any support for the hypothesized diversity effect on fear of crime. The findings apply to both native and non-native Dutch.

Interethnic Contact and Social Cohesion in Twelve Ethnically Diverse Neighborhoods in Four European Cities.

Rui F. Carvalho

Brown University, United States

European cities have been facing rising challenges related to increased ethnic diversity in the last decades. Therefore, there has been a growing number of studies examining the effects of migration-driven diversity for the livelihoods and social cohesion of neighborhoods. Many such works have found a negative relationship between ethnic diversity and social capital/cohesion. However, this effect seems to be mediated by individual and contextual features such as (the quality of) social, particularly inter-ethnic, contact with neighbors. In this context, we ask: (a) what socio-demographic and attitudinal elements are associated with the formation of inter-ethnic contacts in ethnically diverse neighborhoods (i.e. where residents are directly exposed to diversity); and (b) what are the effects of inter-ethnic contact for neighborhood social capital/cohesion. We answer them by using data from a questionnaire applied to the residents of twelve multi-ethnic neighborhoods in four European cities (Bilbao, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Thessaloniki, Greece; Vienna, Austria). Using regression models predicting inter-ethnic contact of various types and degrees of intimacy, we find that exposure to diversity does not uniformly decrease neighborhood social capital/cohesion. Also, migration background is the single most important individual predictor of neighborhood inter-ethnic ties and social capital. And, the relationship between social capital, as well as personal values/attitudes, and inter-ethnic relations is not uniform across types of contact, being stronger for less intimate relations. These and other results highlight the importance of viewing inter-ethnic contact and social capital as multifaceted concepts, whose dimensions are shaped by different demographic, cognitive and behavioral factors.

Fearless City Suburbs: Collaboration, Distance work, and the Shaping of Local Integration Policy Fields

Maria Jose Zapata Campos, Patrik Zapata

University of Gothenburg, Sweden

In the last decades the organizing of the labour market integration of immigrants has become a salient activity for public sectors and other actors. Yet differences in life expectancy, employment and school performance for residents of foreign background living in stigmatized and marginalized city suburbs persist in most European cities when compared with the native residents living in the city centre. What was previously mainly an affair for national governmental bodies today involves a myriad of actors: municipalities and regional bodies, companies, interest groups, but also community-embedded civil society organisations as well as individuals, who all design and implement individual and collaborative initiatives meant to facilitate the integration of vulnerable groups into the labour market and the society. This widening of initiatives reflects a general transition from traditional ways of governing to more collaborative and interactive forms of governing the city, and migration. Recent triggering events such as the so-called refugee crisis in Europe that peaked in Sweden 2015, has prompted a myriad of actors in Swedish cities to start experiments addressing the ‘labour integration’ challenge, that diverge from established practices. This paper has as a starting point the role of collaboration as a source of institutional change in the organizing of migration and integration in the city. The paper zooms in the setting of the urban suburbs of the city of Gothenburg and adopting a relational understanding of space and distances, it examines the ‘distance work’ conducted by these coalition of actors to develop the necessary immunity to prompt change. We argue that exploiting physical, cultural and organisational distances, enabled these actors to develop new practices and roles that shaped the integration policy field.

Being Egyptian-Austrian and Viennese? The City, the Nation and Narrative Constructions of Belonging of Young Muslims in Zurich and Vienna.

Christoph Novak

University of Vienna, Austria

In contexts exhibiting nationalistic discourses, which pathologise Muslimness (as is the case for Austria and Switzerland today), constructing belonging to different collectivities while also constructing oneself as Muslim becomes a highly political act. Simultaneously diverse cities provide environments in which inhabitants’ ideas of monolithic, fixed identity become replaced by a greater awareness of one’s context-specific, boundary-crossing and flexible identifications, according to Paul Gilroy. Taking those two phenomena –anti-Muslim racism and effects of urban diversity – seriously, this presentation discusses how young self-identified Muslims living in Vienna and Zurich construct their belongings in interaction with a non-Muslim researcher.

The research project assesses a diverse set of data gathered through a three-step process (narrative interview, photo-taking activity, photo-interview). This approach provided participants with different possibilities to present themselves and influence the research process. The analytical focus lies on the deliberate and implicit choices manifest in narrative constructions, made in conversations with a (gendered, raced, etc.) audience (the researcher). This presupposes scrutiny of the researcher’s positionality, its contextual influence on the narrative construction and the interview situation. The methodological framework adopted (Narrative Constructionist Analysis; Esin, Fathi, Squire) aligns with this requirement, as it allows to assess the content of narratives, as well as the interview situation and interactions (e.g. co-construction of narratives).

In this presentation, I will focus on constructions of belonging to different collectivities (cities, nations), while also assessing the role of language (specifically local vernaculars) as part of these constructions. By contrasting findings from Zurich and Vienna, it will be possible to see how certain characteristics are specific to one location, while others might be an effect of urban space in general.