Interculturalism in Cities

Interculturalism in Cities

Concept, Policy and Implementation

Edited by Ricard Zapata-Barrero

Cities are increasingly recognized as new players in diversity studies, and many of them are showing evidence of an intercultural shift. As an emerging concept and policy, interculturalism is becoming the most pragmatic answer to concrete concerns in cities. Within this framework, this book covers two major concerns: how to conceptualize and how to implement intercultural policies. Through the use of theoretical and comparative case studies, the current most prominent contributors in the field examine an area that multicultural policies have missed in the past: interaction between people from different cultures and national backgrounds. By compiling the recent research in Europe and elsewhere this book concludes that interculturalism is becoming both an attractive and efficient new paradigm for diversity management.

Chapter 8: Intercultural integration: a new paradigm for managing diversity as an advantage

Irena Guidikova

Subjects: geography, cities, human geography, politics and public policy, migration, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, migration, urban and regional studies, cities, migration, urban studies


During the past decade, Europe has been swept by a wave of disaffection with diversity and integration policies under the label of ‘multiculturalism’. The financial crisis has weakened the position of central governments and sharpened language-based regionalisms or local identity politics in many states. Diversity is often portrait in political discourse and media as a factor of division and disintegration (Hartmann and Husband, 1974; van Dijk and Teun, 1993). Much of the dominant public discourse on integration of migrants portray them essentially as a cost to society and the efforts to include them in society – as motivated by an ethics of hospitality. Integration has been presented by some of the media as a zero-sum game – resources spent on migrants, refugees and their families, jobs taken by them, are taken away from other people. But this is not the entire story. In many local communities the story of integration is one of cohesion and ‘positive contamination of cultures’, to use the expression of Graziano Delrio, Mayor of Reggio Emilia, in Italy (interview for the programme Intercultural Cities, 2008).

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