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Interview with Ash Amin (Cambridge University, UK)

conducted by Franziska Meissner

In the present political moment, which is suspicious of heterogeneity, the word is an invitation to think about the value of living with difference, and more generally, the open society. As publics and politicians deepen their suspicion of the open society, scholarship becomes clearer about the properties - largely positive - of complex open systems. ... more

Interview with Arjun Appadurai (New York)

conducted by Tam Ngo

A lot of my work directly or indirectly has been concerned with issues of diversity or of things connected to diversity. First of all, in my early life in India, diversity was always a keyword because of the regular use of the slogan of “unity in diversity”. It was the theme that Jawaharlal Nehru and other nationalists used for how they hoped to bring India together when it was obviously a country of enormous diversity. ... more

Interview with Lourdes Arizpe (Mexico)

conducted by Theresa Funke

I think that diversity is inherent to human experience. Even in seemingly homogeneous cultural groups there are many ways in which differences are established. Your accent in speaking, the family and community you belong to, your choices, all establish boundaries. So there is diversity always.  ... more

Interview with Phillip M. Ayoub (Philadelphia)

conducted by Chris Kofri

The pursuit of and the benefits of “diversity” in an open society is at the core of my work and subfield, in that I have focused my research on the incorporation of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) peoples into the fabrics of their societies and argued that their heterogeneity and difference (which is a common way to think about diversity), makes their societies richer. ... more


Interview with Ulrich Beck (München)

conducted by Karen Schönwälder

It appears in my texts in many places almost of its own accord. However, I’m usually employing it within a relatively specific context. For example, I would make it distinct from, on the one hand, difference, which contains relatively clear ideas of the boundaries between specific groups or identities, and on the other hand, let’s say, chaos, where everything is possible. To me, diversity in the sense of “superdiversity”,  ... more

Interview with Mette Louise Berg (University of Oxford)

conducted by Damian Omar Martinez

I suppose I see diversity as both a new term and an old term. I’m trained as a social and cultural anthropologist and there is a tradition within anthropology of looking at plural and diverse societies. The most relevant to me would be literature on the Caribbean; I’ve worked on Cuba and the Cuban diaspora for a number of years ... more

Interview with Thomas Blom Hansen (Amsterdam)

conducted by Gabriele Alex

One can argue that India historically was the place that most urgently put the question of diversity on the table of the British colonizers. Indian colonial rule was the context in which models of management of diverse communities were first developed. The colonial state in India developed a model of objectification of communities, of counting, delimiting, drawing boundaries, ... more

Interview with Jan Blommaert (Tilburg University, The Netherlands - Babylon, Center for the Study of Superdiversity)

conducted by Karel Arnaut

I see diversity as a question, as an interrogation and basically as the item, the instrument to interrogate whatever is left of structuralism in our intellectual traditions. In my own field, let's call it sociolinguistics or linguistic anthropology, the influence, the legacy of structuralism is still massive in the sense that we still start from a number of objects that have received their orthodox definition, ... more

Interview with Rogers Brubaker (University of California, Los Angeles)

conducted by Franziska Meissner

In a sense ‘diversity’ is just a more recent term for concepts that have been central to sociology from the very beginning – the idea of differentiation, for example, or the notion of heterogeneity.  ‘Modern’ societies have been defined precisely by their heterogeneity, by being ‘differentiated’ societies.  Clearly, ‘diversity’ is doing more work than simply referring to this extremely general notion of differentiation or heterogeneity. ... more


Interview with Robin Cohen (Oxford)

conducted by Magdalena Nowicka

I suppose I don't use diversity very, very deeply. I use it rather casually. I am interested in a number of aspects of diversity. At the moment I am really interested in the issue of overcoming diversity and I've been working in and around the subject matter of creolization. That is, looking at two or more parent cultures which are diverse in origin but which come together and create a new culture, a new identity, new popular practices and everyday practices; ... more

Statement by François Crépeau (former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants)

“Changing our Mindset and Understanding the Complexity of Migration”: A statement delivered by Prof. François Crépeau, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, in response to Ayelet Shachar‘s opening question at the Second Annual Goethe-Göttingen Critical Exchange Roundtable Discussion. Shahar’s opening question was: “What in your opinion, are the biggest challenges we currently face in the context of migration? How are legal institutions and other social actors – local, national, regional, transnational, or international – helping to understand and address them?”... more


Interview with Josh DeWind (New York)

conducted by Sören Petermann

Over the past fifteen years, the activities of the Migration Program of the Social Science Research Council have explored aspects of “diversity” with regard to the subjects of research, methods of research and analysis, and the perspectives of researchers themselves. For the program’s first decade, our research activities ... more


Interview with John Eade (London)

conducted by Christiane Kofri

I suppose I think I should preface this by perhaps going back to differences in methodologies. I think this comes from methodological holism really, where you start with the group and then work out how groups interact, and how individual people work within these groups. You look at group categories and the politics of group formation and boundary maintenance. And that solves the very powerful tradition and people like me and others have been working with that. ... more


Interview with Thomas Faist (Bielefeld University, Faculty of Sociology)

conducted by Magda Nowicka

For me, diversity has two dimensions. First, diversity is a description. It's a descriptive term really suggesting that there is a kind of increase in the pluralization of lifestyles, of cultural practices, of social practices, which can be observed in certain parts of the world due to processes called globalization or transnationalization. So as such, the first meaning would be a descriptive one. ... more

Interview with Nancy Foner (New York)

conducted by Boris Nieswand

For me, in terms of my work, when I speak of diversity I generally mean ethnoracial diversity – and ethnoracial diversity as it relates to immigration. One of the things I’ve been concerned with in my work is understanding why New York – the place where I live and write about – is very tolerant of diversity, in fact celebrates diversity. ... more

Interview with Farida Tilbury Fozdar (Perth)

conducted by Darshan Vigneswaran

I recognize that there are all sorts of diversity including aspects outside of the ethnic racial and religious but those are the areas that I am most interested in and they are the areas that I tend to study. Being in Australia I guess there is much more diversity within that nation state than there is in many other countries. ... more


Interview with Ben Gidley (COMPAS, University of Oxford)

conducted by Paul Becker

I'm primarily an urban researcher. I research cities and city neighborhoods and social life in cities. So it's both an inescapable fact of city life in Britain and everywhere and an interest of mine is the fact of diversity, the everyday lived reality of diversity – not diversity as policy or as philosophical orientation but just this sheer facticity  ... more

Interview with Andre Gingrich (Vienna)

conducted by Stefan Lindemann

On a general level, I agree with Ulf Hannerz's formulation in the last issue of the 2010 American Anthropologist, where he says that socio-cultural diversity is the key notion in socio-cultural anthropology. As much as most anthropologists in the twentieth century would have agreed that anthropology is the study of human culture, I think most socio-cultural anthropologists  ... more

Interview with Nina Glick-Schiller (Manchester)

conducted by Susanne Wessendorf

Much of my experience has been in the US where the term diversity has been used in university contexts since the beginning of the 1990s.  However, my career goes back to the use of the term ‘cultural pluralism’ both by academics and in urban community development. This term was replaced by multiculturalism and now diversity.  Despite the changing terms of reference the same issues are being signaled.  ... more

Interview with Nilüfer Göle (Paris)

conducted by Weishan Huang

I think that the word 'diversity' is misleading if we understand it as a reference to existing social differences. All societies are different. We can address the question to our democracies and ask who the actors are and how they claim and manifest their differences. The differences in question can be ethnic, religious, class, gender and race. But these categories are not independent of the social movements, ... more

Interview with Ralph Grillo (Sussex)

conducted by Christiane Kofri

Though I did not use the term ‘diversity’ until recently, all the work I've ever done has been in societies which are ethnically and racially diverse and also religiously diverse and diverse in terms of class. My original research was in Kampala, Uganda, looking at railway workers who were of different ethnic backgrounds and from different parts of Africa, and there were also Asians and Europeans working for the railways. ... more


Interview with Suzanne Hall (University of London / LSE)

conducted by Christian Jacobs

My practice is as an urban ethnographer, and before I came to ethnography I practiced as an architect in South Africa, so I work quite explicitly with spatial forms. I want to begin by saying that I think diversity is essentially a social change process. It is on the one hand the varied practices of locating oneself with respect to self and group, and ... more

Interview with Miles Hewstone (Oxford)

conducted by Sören Petermann

Let me start with social psychology and question myself. If I were to do a literature search, what would I find on diversity? I would definitely find some work evaluating diversity training – some very practical work there looking at whether it works, or not. You would also find some work linking diversity in small groups, and also in organizations, to creativity. ... more

Interview with Daniel Hiebert (University of British Columbia)

conducted by Monika Palmberger

I grew up in a place that had a kind of diversity but it's what people now call 'old diversity'. So in the neighborhood where I grew up you were English, German, or Ukrainian. That was more or less it. That was the full scope of our diversity. People from these groups interacted and kids knew what each other’s background was. Each of those groups had a particular religious inflection and so on. And at that time ... more

Interview with Thomas Hylland Eriksen (Oslo)

conducted by Monika Palmberger

I am very happy to have the chance to talk to you today about the notion of diversity. As we noticed at our Advisory Board Meeting – here at Schloss Ringberg – diversity is somehow in the air. Someone even suggested that we are facing the ‘age of diversity’. I don't know about that but diversity is certainly a term used extensively by politicians, in the corporate world, etc. ... more


Interview with Michael Keith (COMPAS, University of Oxford)

conducted by Kristen Biehl

I think it enters my own work in two different ways. Firstly intellectually. Some of the conceptual work that diversity does begins to emerge in the 1980s as an implicit critique of Anglo-American ways of thinking about race and ethnicity. I think in the British case the study of ethnic, and racial studies more generally, ... more

Interview with Peter Kivisto (Augustana College, Illinois, USA)

conducted by Gabriele Alex

Although I may not have defined it in precisely this way, diversity has been the focus of my work throughout my entire career, ever since I became interested in immigration during my graduate school days. In my earliest work, I looked at diversity in the American past—the last major wave of immigration, ... more

Interview with Kim Knott (Lancaster University)

conducted by Gabriele Alex

Diversity is a term I've used for a long time. So in the mid-seventies when I was first a research student in the University of Leeds where I was studying and where I still work we were establishing a group, a research group called the Community Religions Project and it was the aim of the project or one of the aims was to work on religions in the local area region of West Yorkshire. The reason for doing that  ... more

Interview with Matthias Koenig (Göttingen)

conducted by Gabriele Alex

In a preliminary way, one could perhaps define the concept of ‘diversity’ as a social condition characterized by the co-existence of people with different cultural conceptions of world, society and self, notably with different, if partly overlapping, collective identities. Whether such co-existence is peaceful or not is left open in this definition, and it is also broad enough to capture the various dimensions of diversity including religion, language and ethnicity. ... more


Interview with Michèle Lamont (Harvard University)

conducted by Damian Omar Martinez

My current work has focused on analyzing the experiences of stigmatized groups and how the environments in which they live are feeding their responses to the ethnoracial exclusion they encounter. So the place of diversity in my work would be to consider how cultural repertoires that sustain diversity – whether multiculturalist repertoires or ... more

Interview with Loren Landau (Johannesburg)

conducted by Daniel Volkert

For me diversity is about different ways of being in space, particularly in urban space, space that itself is shaped by people's backgrounds whether ethnic, class, race, political orientation. But it is not only this, but their aspirations: economic, social, sexual, or geographic. ... more


Interview with Ewa Morawska (Essex)

conducted by Christiane Kofri

Diversity is absolutely central to my work for two reasons: the nature of my research and the theoretical framework that informs it. My research practice can be called a comparative-historical ethnography, and each of its three components is premised on the assumption of the inherent multiplicity or polyvocality of the social world. And the theoretical approach I have used to interpret the findings of my comparative-historical studies, ... more


Interview with Sarah Neal (University of Surrey, UK)

conducted by Maria Schiller

I come from a race and ethnicity background and certainly the concept of diversity and superdiversity as it’s being developed through Steve’s work and taken up by various scholars and researchers has been really helpful in that it’s a contribution to how we talk and think about race and ethnicity. And in some ways it’s interrupted by ... more


Interview with Brendan O'Leary (Pennsylvania)

conducted by Karen Schönwälder

The word diversity has two immediate connotations for me. The first  is now standard speech in the United States when people are affirming cultural, linguistic or ethnic pluralism. ‘Diversity’ is always used in these contexts to mean ‘celebrate diversity’. So I think of it as an affirmative recognition of difference,  and it's a form of modern American personnel administrative-speak for words that used to encompass the same notion, ... more


Interview with Anne Phillips (University of London / LSE)

conducted by Julia Martínez-Ariño

For myself I prefer the notion of difference to that of diversity. This is partly because diversity has become part of an administrative framework that frames antidiscrimination policies in the work place as a matter of equality and diversity, but in a rather empty way. I don't know if this is also true in Germany, but it is certainly the case in the UK. ... more


Interview with Bruno Riccio (Bologna)

conducted by Tilmann Heil

It’s a very immature way of getting around this concept because I never use diversity as an analytical term. For me, it is a term meaning a situation, a setting or a context characterised by various interconnected or crosscutting processes of diversification. Let's for instance look at Senegalese associations or West African associations in Italy. I think this is a setting of diversity, but ... more


Interview with Paul Spoonley (Massey University)

conducted by Karel Arnaut

Diversity for me invites us to pay attention to the outcomes of the enhanced flows of contemporary mobility and migration around the world. So it is really a descriptive term to indicate that the way in which we live, particularly in gateway cities, has changed quite dramatically since the mid-twentieth century. ... more


Interview with Manuel A. Vásquez (Florida)

conducted by Monika Palmberger

There are two sorts of background conditions that I would look into to make sense of how diversity comes to the fore for me. The first one is located in religious studies, since I'm trained in religious studies. The key concept that was used up until the late 1960s and even into the early 1970s was the concept of “world religions” and so this was a concept that has always been criticized for reifying religions. ... more


Interview with Susanne Wessendorf (The London School of Economics and Political Science)

conducted by Chris Kofri

Diversity points to the increasing complexity of current societies. As this complexity is constantly changing, the term diversification is more useful as it points to this state of flux and change. Most work on diversification relates to societies shaped by migration movements. For my own work, the term ‘diversity’ has been useful in ... more

Interview with Andreas Wimmer (Columbia University)

conducted by Goran Janev

In the area that I am working in at the moment, which mostly has to do with conflict, violence, state formation, and public goods provision, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether or not high degrees of diversity are linked with bad things such as civil war or low public goods provision or failed states. Some people have argued ... more

Interview with Amanda Wise (Sydney)

conducted by Cihan Sinanoglu

For me, well my preference is to approach diversity through an ethnographic lens. So ‘diversity’ is a sort of container for, I guess not just ethnic difference, but also of other lines or intersections of difference; and how these intersections then produce and overcome boundaries. In a sense, ‘diversity’ is just a container word for me to look at the everyday lived reality of existing with ‘diverse others’. ... more

Interview with Wong Ing Boh Diana (Kuala Lumpur)

conducted by Boris Nieswand

I think I would begin by saying that what diversity means to me by my work is actually by way of my life. I am living in an everyday structure of diversity, not just religious, but also ethnic and so diversity is an everyday experience. And that is reflected in the way I work about diversity and the kind of expertise that I have acquired about diversity. ... more
Bela Hovy, United Nations Population Division
Peter van der Veer
Max-Planck Video Porträt