Diversity, Economic Growth and Social Cohesion
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Maddy Janssens, Dino Pinelli, Dafne C. Reyman and Sandra Wallmann
In 1999 the European Union decided to address the research community with the question of whether and how the diversity of its cultures could be a source of competitiveness for its economy. ENGIME, a network made up of nine European universities and research centres, decided to address this question using the cities as laboratories of diversity. Looking at cities as the places where diversity meets, where its richness is experienced, and where conflicts explode more often, our attempt was to understand how cultures and cultural diversity interplay with economic growth and development. We decided that it was not the task of a discipline alone, and we brought together researchers from a variety of disciplines: social and political scientists, economists, psychologists and historians, to share knowledge and research. We decided to keep the network as open as possible and to organise workshops to invite researchers through a widely diffused call for papers. Besides the call for papers, two to four experienced researchers participated in each workshop upon invitation. Working together proved to be the real value added of the network, and at the same time the most difficult task. Indeed, the first task of the network was to build a common glossary and to establish a common understanding of the issues at stake. Such an objective was soon shown to be naïve. The way we structured our research, the way we defined the issues, the methodologies that we were applying were so different and enshrined in our disciplines (and in...