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 11: Conclusions: three building blocks for taking interculturalism seriously

Ricard Zapata-Barrero

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


Interculturalism has entered the diversity debate only recently. It attracts academics and local policy makers who feel we need to react to increasing diversity, but who are unsatisfied with the present multicultural conceptual frameworks. Following Cantle’s conclusion (Chapter 5), the first and foremost argument is the adoption of interculturalism as a new policy paradigm. Interculturalism’s particular origin may be one of its assets. It is seen as an exploratory policy strategy that seeks to offer pragmatic answers to the challenges posed by diversity dynamics, mainly at the city level. As we have seen in most of the case studies in this volume, this policy posits society as being under construction, working to provide a direction and a horizon for diversity dynamics in all spheres of life. These are the early stages of paradigm development. As such, its web of expansion has no limits; it can influence both institutional and individual routines and behaviours, the logic of action, and life prospects.

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