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ETHNIC DIVERSITY AND CONVIVIALITY: EXAMPLES FROM COPENHAGEN


DENMARK – A BIZARRE EXAMPLE OF MULTICULTURALISM? 

 

Immigrant/descendants: 9.6% of the population (more than half are non-Western immigrants). In Copenhagen 22.2% Difficult to settle in Denmark (non-EU citizens) However: some categories of immigrants have gained easier access (green card, etc.) National political understandings of multiculturalism:  Very seldom used!  Presently: Much focus on the rhetoric of the Danish People’s Party – but also debate prior to the 2001 elections (new government in office Oct. 3 – some softening)


NATIONAL POLITICAL FORMULATIONS OF (ANTI)MULTICULTURALISM 

Thorkild Simonsen (minister of interior, Social Democrat, 1997): If you ask me whether I want develop Denmark into a multicultural society, the answer is no” Karen Jespersen (minister of interior, Social democrat, 2000) ”I will certainly not live in a multicultural society. That is: In a country, where cultures are (considered) equal” Henriette Kjær (MP conservatives, 2008) ”Denmark is not multicultural. If we were, we would have lots of mosques and synagogues and different religious holidays based on several religions. We are a small country with a small language area, and many of our psalms tell the story that is a part of our upbringing. We must be aware of the values that count”


NATIONAL LEVEL (CON’T) Skepticism towards understanding Denmark as multicultural from right to left  Understanding Denmark as ”small”, under threat from the outside  Focus on culture, values, religion 

However a schism:  Awareness of migration as important for upholding the welfare state 

(new government?)


MULTICULTURALISM IN THE METROPOLIS: THE EXAMPLE OF COPENHAGEN 

Integration policy (2011-2014): “Copenhagen is the best integrated metropolitan city in Europe in 2015. Copenhagen is the place where “everyone gets the possibility of creating a good life without prejudice and discrimination.”


EMPHASIZING DIVERSITY 

International Day, 2010


EMPHASIZING DIVERSITY (CON’T) 

Eid 2009/2010


WHY FOCUS ON DIVERSITY: CHALLENGE, OPORTUNITY, CONSUMERISM? 

Copenhageners appreciate the possibilities, the freedom of choice and the thrill from other countries of the world. Copenhagen is the metropolis. The capital. The proof that Denmark is a part of the rest of the world. The options are many: Should we explore one of the many specialty stores packed with products from Thailand, Japan, China or Pakistan when we go shopping? Or should we choose for a Moroccan, Indian, Mexican or Mongolian restaurant? The streets are spiced with rasta-shops and loose-fitting clothes. You hear Arab background music in the local kiosk‌ At the hospital Muslim healthcare workers and doctors have nothing against working on Christmas Eve. One thing, however, is diversity. Another the social problems that in many instances have an ethnic color. Regardless of our focus on the inequalities in housing, status in the labor market, school performance, educational level, crime etc., there is a specific problem when we look at immigrants (Municipality of Copenhagen, 2006: 6)


SELLING COPENHAGEN TO A GLOBAL AUDIENCE? 

integration policy 2011-2014: Everyone [in Copenhagen] has something to contribute with. This [standpoint] is central if the city’s companies are to succeed in attracting and maintaining labor from the whole world, and that they feel welcome. Copenhagen must be accessible for a diversity of human beings, being the foundation of the city’s economic sustainability. The linguistic, educational and cultural resources of Copenhageners can be used to create trading partners all over the world, and linguistic and cultural meetings can offer new perspectives in education.


WHAT KIND OF DIVERSITY AND HOW DIVERSITY? Diversity as a resource  Diversity as something ”ethnic”  Diversity as pleasure/consumption  Diversity as something corrosive, degrading, radically different  Diversity as a means to empower oneself on a global market  Diversity as a means to prevent conflicts on a local level 


NØRREBRO 

Example of the “making of space”

Data from SOCED (www.soced.dk)


NØRREBRO 

Historically low income area

Largest concentration of immigrants/descendants from non-Western countries in Copenhagen (27.6 %)

Social housing complexes with larger concentration: Mjølnerparken (83 %)

Main countries of origin: Lebanon (Palestine), Somalia, Iraq


NØRREBRO – NEGOTIATING SPACE


GROUNDED POLITICS 

 

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Definition: The political actions that people undertake in their immediate lives – where they live and within the life world they are emotionally attached to Cities and neighborhoods are central as they ”pose the general question of our living together more intensely than many other kind of places” (Massey 2006) Cities as ”throwntogetherness” (Massey) and ”the product of conflict” (Deutsche 1996) ->How we as humans do (identity!) politics. Bernstein (2005): ”Identities are used strategically as a form of collective action to chance institutions..culture…participants” -> Using and reacting against reified formulations of identity -> the role of religion (Islam) post 2001


THE HISTORY OF NØRREBRO 

Migration histories

Riots

The impact of history on current immigrant culture?


CONCLUSSION 

Multiculturalism in Denmark: At least three levels – what takes place between them?

Goals of multicultural visibility or visible difference (e.g. municipality of Copenhagen/religious organizations)

More generally: 

Scrutinizing the concept of diversity

Importance of particular spaces and performance

The gap between urban expectation, needs and experiences and national discourses and legislation (which in the end has the upper hand)


Presentation Garbi Schmidt  

Super-Diversity in Dynamic Cities: Nieuwe uitdagingen voor de cultuursector. Kosmopolis Utrecht, Den Haag en Rotterdam organiseerden de inte...

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