Welfare micropublics and inequality: urban super diversity in a time of austerity.

af Mette Louise Berg | jul 2019 | Article

Mette Louise Berg, Ben Gidley, and Anna Krausova (2019) Welfare micropublics and inequality: urban super-diversity in a time of austerity. Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol 42 (15), pp. 2723-2742.

This article argues for the importance of the role of the national and local state, and of increasing socio-economic inequality for understanding urban super-diversity in a time of austerity. Using a methodology and conceptualization that avoids the methodological ethnicism and “methodological neighbourhoodism” inherent in some diversity research, we draw on quantitative analysis and ethnographically produced material from south London to ask what differences make a difference. Examining interactions in “welfare micropublics”, including maternity services, schools, and elderly social care, we show that residents and service providers, often following an “ethos of inclusion”, routinely engage with difference in encounters, allowing the potential for conviviality to emerge. We argue that only by considering diversity together with inequality, can we develop more textured and nuanced accounts of super-diverse urban areas, including a fuller understanding of the social production of difference and indifference.

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