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Cosmopolitanism beyond the city: discourses and experiences of young migrants in post-suburban Netherlands

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Cosmopolitanism has been, and largely still is, understood as a phenomenon exclusive to the city, while the periphery is traditionally identified with lack of diversity. Meanwhile, cosmopolitanism is broadly assumed to be an attitude primarily represented by liberal elites. This paper challenges these binary conceptions by focusing on the existence of cosmopolitanism together with (migrant) youth precarity in (post)suburbia. Based on research in a post-suburban New Town in the Netherlands, the paper looks beyond the bias of strictly “city” perspectives on cosmopolitanism, and investigates the experiences of young migrants who find themselves in a (post)suburban environment. The case is Almere, 30km east of Amsterdam, a place that has rapidly diversified in the past two decades. Based on interviews with young migrants who moved recently to Almere, the paper focuses on their experiences and everyday struggles. The analysis ultimately alludes to post-suburban cosmopolitanisms, coupled with potentially precarious circumstances.
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Keywords: Cosmopolitanism; migration; postsuburbs; precarity; youth

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Sociology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: January 2, 2020

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