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Diversity as an EU cultural policy driver: Neutrality vs affirmativity in the construction of a European cultural space

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This article endeavours to contribute to the debate on how notions of diversity in European politics serve to consolidate socio-economic inequality and ethno-nationalism. Starting from the premise that immigrant minorities are a key dimension of European cultural diversity, the article explores the notion of diversity in EU cultural policy. It examines the incorporation of the ‘immigrant minorities’ dimension into the formulation of primary and secondary EU legislation in force since 2000. Qualitative content analysis of legal and policy documents serves to analyse two axes of inclusion: (1) the recognition of immigrant minorities in the definition of a European cultural diversity and (2) the identification of inequality and discrimination as salient factors of socio-economic exclusion. The assessment of the evolution of the notion of diversity shows that despite the increase in immigrants’ socio-economic exclusion and of ethno-nationalism, EU cultural policy uses a neutral notion of cultural diversity. It is argued that this condition of neutrality favours the diversity-inequality tension and the hegemonic position of the nation state dimension in the articulation of a European cultural space.
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Keywords: EU cultural policy; affirmativity; cultural diversity; discrimination; immigrant minorities; neutrality; socio-economic exclusion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Leicester

Publication date: April 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • The course of cultures at both local and global levels is crucially affected by migratory movements. In turn, culture itself is turned migrant. This journal will advance the study of the plethora of cultural texts on migration produced by an increasing number of cultural practitioners across the globe who tackle questions of culture in the context of migration. They do this in a variety of ways and through a variety of media. To name but a few relevant aspects of this juncture of migration and culture, questions of dislocation, travel, borders, diasporic identities, transnational contacts and cultures, cultural memory, the transmission of identity across generations, questions of hybridity and cultural difference, the material and oral histories of migration and the role of new technologies in bridging cultures and fostering cultural cross-pollination will all be relevant. Methodologies of research will include both the study of 'texts' and fieldwork.
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