CityLab: Super-diversity (completed)

CityLab: Super-diversity (completed)

Director: Prof. Edgar Pieterse (UCT/ACC)
Deputy Director: Prof. Gordon Pirie (UCT/ACC)
Steering Committee: Prof. Steven Vertovec (MPI-MMG), Prof. Robin Cohen (Oxford), Prof. Gordon Pirie (UCT/ACC)

In collaboration with the African Centre for Cities (ACC), at the University of Cape Town (UCT), the MPI-MMG has established the CityLab: Super-diversity, which pursues a research program that has been developed around four thematic clusters:

  1. Contact and the labour market

This theme concerns (a) the nature, quality and quantity of social interaction between individuals of various backgrounds as well as the effects such modes of contact have upon inter-group attitudes, and (b) the labour market experiences of individuals of various backgrounds, particularly the ways in which individuals gain information about, and access to, the labour market. The main activities of this cluster surrounded a large-scale survey in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Research Coordinators
     Prof. Owen Crankshaw (UCT)
     Prof. Miles Hewstone (Oxford)

     Dr. Hermann Swart (Stellenbosch)
     Dr. Elena Moore (UCT)

  1. Visualizing urban diversities

This theme concerns two meanings of ‘visualizing’: one addresses techniques for creating, gathering and documenting urban visual material (especially photography, film and video) regarding a range of diversity dynamics in Cape Town; another refers to making data concerning the city visible in new and analytically compelling ways (such as innovative graphics and GIS mapping). Within this cluster the main activities included the development and collection of visual resources, and the provision of training on state-of-the-art data graphics and cartography. This cluster was developed in collaboration with the GLOBALDIVERCITIES project at the MPI-MMG.

Research Coordinators
     Prof. Pieterse (UCT/ACC)

     Prof. Vertovec (MPI-MMG)

     Ismail Farouk (ACC)

     Tau Tavengwa (ACC)

     Dr. Norbert Winnige (MPI-MMG)
     Alexei Matveev (MPI-MMG)

  1. Diversity and public space

The theme addresses public spaces – approached as physical settings such as streets, squares, parks and markets which are in principle accessible to all regardless of background. In practice, public spaces are differentially perceived and experienced with respect to markers and modes of diversity (gender, age, ethnicity, legal status, disability, etc.). Cluster activities included qualitative research on the variegated meanings of specific public spaces in Cape Town, undertaken in conjunction with the thematic cluster on visualizing urban diversities. The research entry point were public art initiatives undertaken to provide a basis for inter-cultural dialogue and engagement.

Research Coordinators
     Prof. Edgar Pieterse (UCT/ACC)
     Prof. Gordon Pirie (UCT/ACC)
Dr. Darshan Vigneswaran (Centre for Urban Studies, University of Amsterdam)

  1. The socio-linguistics of super-diversity

This theme concerns the variety of ways people adapt to ever-increasingly complex contexts of multilingualism (arising from combined processes of migration, new features and functions of signs within transformative linguistic landscapes, and rapid development of communication technologies). The cluster’s main activities included data collection, assemblage and digitizing of existing documentation, visualization and mapping out of linguistic phenomena, and training of young scholars through conferences, expert workshops and summer schools.

Research Committee
Prof. Chris Stroud (UWC)
Prof. Raj Meshtrie (UCT)
Prof. Jan Blommaert (Tilburg)
Dr. Karel Arnaut (KU Leuven)

The CityLab: Super-diversity produced a series of qualitative research studies (original data and a documentation depository), research outputs (edited volumes, academic articles and various visual materials) and activities (conferences, workshops, exhibitions and summer schools). 

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