Introduction: framing the intercultural turn
This edited volume is situated at the intersection of two trends in current European policy debate. First, there is the common tendency in Europe to move from a state-centred approach to a local-centred approach in diversity policies, where cities are increasingly recognized as not only implementers, but also as new player1 in a multi-level framework (Hepburn and Zapata-Barrero, 2014). Second, and within this context, an increasing number of cities are opting for interculturalism as a new policy focus, given the crisis of state multiculturalism (among others, Vertovec and Wessendorf, 2010). Interculturalism is therefore at the centre of debates on diversity and is becoming a new way for cities to deal with diversity dynamics. As an emerging public policy, the current debate has been generating strong, convincing arguments. Interculturalism is beginning to influence some governments, leading them to reconsider their policies and introduce this new paradigm – which is considered to be the most pragmatic answer to concrete concerns in cities and their plans for the future. Interculturalism is basically an urban phenomenon. There are many European institutional documents and initiatives along with some initial academic research, which is highlighted in this book, evincing this intercultural turn.