The Sustainability of Cultural Diversity
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The Sustainability of Cultural Diversity

Nations, Cities and Organizations

Edited by Maddy Janssens, Myriam Bechtoldt, Arie de Ruijter, Dino Pinello, Giovanni Prarolo and Vanja M.K. Stenius

This engaging book addresses the question of how diverse communities, whether in a nation, city or organization, can live together and prosper whilst retaining and enjoying their cultural differences. This is a particularly pertinent issue in the context of the modern world where mass migration and immigration are pervasive global phenomena.
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Chapter 14: Managing Diversity Conceptually: Shifting Conceptualizations of Diversity in the Context of Immigrant Organizations in Sweden

Kiflemariam Hamde and Nils Wåhlin


Kiflemariam Hamde and Nils Wåhlin 14.1 INTRODUCTION The aim of this study is to explain the changing role that immigrant organizations (IOs)1 played in working towards the state’s goal to achieve sustainable diversity between 1968 and 2008.2 The study is mainly an analysis of a number of evaluations which examine the effects of Swedish state policies and the functioning of IOs from a critical perspective. The choice to study IOs in an explicit way is due to the dominance of immigrants and their organizations in the discourse on diversity in Sweden. This country is also an interesting case when it comes to the open immigration policy which led to an increased number of foreigners in the post World War era (Dahlström, 2004). Sweden is also characterized by a high density of associational life in which the state plays a crucial role (Vogel et al., 2003). Falsafi (2002: 6) holds that ‘today the focus of diversity talk in Sweden is first and foremost on the disadvantaged immigrants, primarily from nonEuropean countries’. In Sweden, the study of immigrant organizations has led to academic and programmatic projects such as, for example, the International Immigration and Ethnic Relations (IMER) project. Taking these observations as a point of departure, questions asked are: How has diversity been conceptualized in state policies during the selected period of time? Which policies encouraged or hindered sustainable diversity, and why? The study refers to the definition by van Londen and De Ruijter (see Chapter 1) according to...

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