Commonplace Diversity: Social Relations in a Super-Diverse by Susanne Wessendorf

By Susanne Wessendorf

Drawing on in-depth ethnographic fieldwork, Wessendorf explores lifestyles in a super-diverse city neighbourhood. The e-book offers a shiny account of the day-by-day doings and social relatives one of the citizens and the way they pragmatically negotiate distinction of their daily lives.

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Extra info for Commonplace Diversity: Social Relations in a Super-Diverse Context (Global Diversities)

Sample text

The issue of black youngsters who do not fit into the more positive picture of commonplace diversity in Hackney brings to the fore that independent of the degree of cultural diversity and positive relations between individuals of different backgrounds, continuities of inequality and disadvantage, coupled with racism, continue to be at the centre of local tensions. While the narratives of conviviality and positive relations between people of different cultural backgrounds represented in this book are important in countering a public and political discourse which assumes tensions on the grounds of cultural difference, it is equally important to not lose sight of these deeply rooted issues surrounding 40 Commonplace Diversity power relations and inequality.

1999:188), and posits it against ongoing institutionalized racism (especially by the police) and the continuing disadvantage of black communities. This tension between what I describe as commonplace diversity and the persistence of racial inequalities is also addressed towards the end of this book, where I discuss local interpretations of the riots which happened in August 2011. A discourse of racism and inequality formed an important part of these local explanations of the disturbances. However, the focus of this book lies on the everyday lived reality of diversity and not on racism.

This resonates with Elias’ and Scotson’s classic study on relationships between established residents and newcomers in an English village (Elias & Scotson, 1994). In Hackney, similar discourses about young newcomers, also described as ‘Hipsters’, can be found. As I discuss in Chapter 6, the Hipsters are blamed for breaking the social order of the area by dominating certain public spaces and being noisy and disorderly. However, in a super-diverse area like Hackney, it is not the newcomer status alone which categorizes people as ‘other’, because it is simply too difficult to know who is new to the area and who is not.

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