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Anthropological perspectives on super-diversity: complexity, difference, sameness, and mixing

Berg, ML; (2022) Anthropological perspectives on super-diversity: complexity, difference, sameness, and mixing. In: Meissner, F and Sigona, N and Vertovec, S, (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Superdiversity. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

This article discusses anthropological perspectives on super-diversity, and includes reflections on why anthropology as a discipline has been reluctant to engage with the term. Super-diversity and its reception within the discipline is then compared with how semantically proximate concepts, namely migration, transnationalism, and multiculture, were received and developed. The long shadow of functionalism and its interest in stasis and bounded culture is discussed, and alternative or subliminal genealogies for super-diversity are presented, including especially the anthropology of the Caribbean. The discipline’s reluctance to engage with race and working-class culture is contextualised and it is shown how this led to scholarship on multiculture developing separately from that of migration. The emergence of transnationalism in the 1990s made it possible for anthropology to reconceptualise long-held ideas around mixing, cultural fluidity, and relationships between culture and territoriality, but transnationalism was relatively weak on the understanding of inter-ethnic relations in areas of migrant settlement. It is noted that transnationalism poses fundamental challenges to ethnographic fieldwork conventionally conceived, and that the same is the case for super-diversity. To overcome these challenges, it is proposed that collaborative, participatory, and team-based ethnographies, that also seek to decolonise ethnography, offer a promising way forward. In the conclusion, proposals are made that seek to bring anthropological engagements with super-diversity into constructive dialogue with work on racism, multiculture, deportation, and intersecting inequalities.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Anthropological perspectives on super-diversity: complexity, difference, sameness, and mixing
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://global.oup.com/
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions. // This is a draft of a chapter that has been accepted for publication by Oxford University Press in the forthcoming book The Oxford Handbook of Superdiversity edited by Meissner, Sigona & Vertovec, due for publication in 2022.
Keywords: Anthropology, the Caribbean, collaborative methods, ethnography, multiculture, race, super-diversity, transnationalism
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10138189
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