Issues of cultural diversity and governance have been on the agenda with regard to urban paradigms seeking to accommodate cultural diversity driven by a globalized world. Globalization replaced nation states with cities as the main nodes in the system of cultural and capital flow. These new urbanscapes feature particular conditions of interaction corresponding to what is termed ‘quotidian transversality’. The space where the contact zones unfold in everyday practice is not, however, as unplanned and spontaneous as is sometimes suggested. By looking into the production of two ‘diversity festivals’ we argue that this space is not just constructed in interaction but it is intersected by systemic forces outside its supposedly inherent practical rituals and negotiations. Such forces range from urban planning, hosting policies, and strategies of political actors to the market. These forces are all intertwined in what we call the production of interculturality. Comparing two ‘diversity festivals’ we seek to understand how interculturality fits urban planning strategies and is discursively produced with a view to create a certain image of the city and the cultural groups living in it. Methodologically the research utilized a mix of multi-situated ethnography and traditional qualitative sociological research. Comparison was carried out in neighbourhoods in downtown Lisbon and Granada.
Tuuli Lähdesmäki and Tuija Saresma
In recent decades, Europe has faced the rise of nationalist populist movements objecting to increased immigration, cultural pluralisation, and interculturalism in European societies. Public discussion on interculturalism have often focused on the encounters of – and the wrangles with – migrants and local people and their diverse values. The members of anti-immigrant movements commonly object to cultural pluralism and intercultural practices and foster ‘traditional’, ‘Western’, and ‘national’ values. The discourse influenced by conservative ideologies also often embraces traces of xenophobia, homophobia, and misogyny. In this chapter, we ask how and why interculturalism is opposed in populist discourses. Focusing on identity formations we ask how the groups of ‘us’ and ‘others’ are produced, and analyse the rhetorical means used in demonizing others. Intersectionality as the critical recognition of hierarchically organized and constantly negotiated identity categories, such as gender, ethnicity, sexuality, social class, and religion, is our key methodological concept in analysing the complexity of the meaning-making processes in populist discourses. As our case, we analyse an article on Muslim homosexuals in Amsterdam, published in the widely read Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (3 March 2013), and the vivid discussion that followed in the online discussion forum of the newspaper. The chapter demonstrates that notions of gender and sexuality are topics which can be flexibly utilized in populist discourses. On the one hand, the populist discourses are often profoundly heteronormative, fostering the idea of nuclear family, traditional gender roles, and hierarchical gender binarity. On the other hand, they may explicitly support gender equality and gay rights when the values promoted in the discourse are facing ‘a bigger threat’: immigration and Islam. In this case, the populist discourse can even aim to rhetorically normalize homosexuality and gender equality as an indication of developed Western rights and civilized values.