Young people practicing everyday multiculturalism: An ethnographic look

Convenor: Enzo Colombo (University of Milano)

This section welcomes theoretically informed and ethnographically grounded papers on young people’s practical uses of cultural difference. We are interested in empirical analysis focusing on institutional and urban situations in which young adults use cultural difference as a rhetorical tool for producing meanings, regulating relations, and defining criteria for inclusion, exclusion and recognition. We invite papers that explore young people’s quotidian experiences of cultural difference and diversity, presenting grounded research on the topic of multiculturalism which analyse the ways in which people experience and (dis)engage with cultural difference.

We welcome papers that examine situations of everyday, mundane, multiculturalism, in which at least one of the actors involved use cultural difference as a political tool and as a rhetorical strategy for either claiming recognition, respect, inclusion, and producing solidarity ties or for drawing boundaries that establish specific social hierarchies, produce exclusion, selective accessibility, and protection of privileges. We are interested in papers that explore the intersections and relationships between cultural  groups, rather than research taking a single ethnic group as a focus.

This session also aims to focus on ethnographic analysis of racialization processes and anti-racist actions; that is, situations in which ‘race’ (as well as other categories that are reified through naturalizing practices and discourses) is constructed and/or de-constructed in order to discipline interactions, define subjects status, and regulate access to scarce resources.

Papers can also examine:

  • young people’s modes of living with and across difference in cities, at school, at work, in public spaces, doing shopping, playing sport, enjoying free time, etc.
  • intersection between generation identification, gender, class, religion and any other social categorization used to draw boundaries between “Us” and “Them”
  • multicultural place-sharing and battles over place identity and belonging
  • interconnections between young people practices and attitudes and larger discourses of multiculturalism and national belonging

We invite papers that engage critically with the methodological and theoretical challenges of undertaking ethnographic research on urban spaces, changing citizenship and personal belonging, including but not limited to question such as the positionality of the researcher in multicultural contexts.

Both Italian and English papers and presentations will be accepted.

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