EU research projects on diversity, identity and social cohesion

Some EU-funded research projects have focused on social exclusion (its spatial patterns, dynamics causing it) and integration issues, examined in various contexts and especially related to immigrants and ethnic minorities:

Other 6th Framework Programme projects (LOCALMULTIDEM, KATARSIS, TRESEGY, SUS.DIV) were related to diversity, identity and social cohesion.

The 7th Framework Programme project EURISLAM examined the relation between:


Public and academic debates and their weaknesses

Main debates and conceptions of inclusion and integration of migrants in the 20th century in Europe:

It is important to understand that changes in political and social contexts  changes in attitudes towards newcomers.

1945-80s Early 90s Late 90s
– Political commitment to democracy
– Impulse to think inclusively
– Concentration on cultural diversity for the integration of migrants
– Cultural difference is not equally understood across Europe
– The leading principle on integration is citizenship
– Focus on the active citizenship of ethnic minorities
– ‘New realism’: ethnic minorities are expected to learn the language and adopt norms and values of the society.
–  Integration understood as a question of identity.

Diversity defined as ethnicity

  • Narrow definitions of diversity and identity; limited to ethnicity.
  • Aspects such as socioeconomic background, gender, age, language… are NOT CONSIDERED.

Stigmatising cultural dichotomies

  • Cultural diversity is approached negatively, not as an opportunity.
  • Two views on immigration:
    • As a long-term process where people find their way
    • Immigration as a problem. Negative relationship between city, immigration and integration

Negative approach to cultural diversity

  • Danger of using cultural dichotomies for social cohesion.
  • The construction of difference may stigmatise a whole group for ages.

What is social cohesion?

There are different definitions of social cohesion, but their common elements are the following ones (Pahl 1991; Kearns & Forrest 2000; Dekker, 2006):

BUT, in reality this is not so easy because several elements interact and interrelate:

What is super diversity?

The concept of diversity describes those visible or invisible aspects that make people differ from each other. Elements of diversity can be age, gender, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, disability, etc.

But what is super diversity?

The relational and cultural dimensions in governance debates

The relational and cultural dimensions in governance debates:

Social economy initiatives in housing

Forrest and Kearns 2006:

Click here for examples of social economy initiatives in housing in different countries.



Projects considering the role of housing in social cohesion and integration: