The Politics of Diversity in Europe
By Gavan Titley and Alana Lentin
Council of Europe, 2008, 198 pp., 25 € / 38 $, ISBN 978-92-871-6171-0
Diversity has become a key term in contemporary social politics, and is often used as both a description of complex social realities and a normative prescription for how those realities should be valued, influenced by the politics of multiculturalism and by social movements asserting "the right to be different" diversity has emerged as an open, fluid discourse that challenges reductive visions of legitimate identities and human possibilities.
It is this apparent acceptance of diversity as a fact and value that this book sets out to examine, in a range of ways, it offers a countervailing assessment of diversity; seeing it less as a unifying social imaginary and more as a cost-free form of politics attuned to the needs of late capitalist, consumer societies. The introduction distinguishes between 'diversity polities' — emerging from a range of critiques of social power — and the 'politics of diversity', a depoliticised celebration of difference that replicates the problems of multiculturalism without the benefits of the overt ideological engagement that multiculturalism has provoked.
The essays collected here are developed from a research seminar entitled Diversity, Human Rights and Participation, organised by the Partnership on Youth between the Council of Europe and the European Commission. The studies gathered here are embedded in 10 different national contexts. They track dimensions of 'diversity' in education, social services, jurisprudence, parliamentary proceedings and employment initiatives, and assess their significances for the social actors who must negotiate these frameworks in their daily experience.
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