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Towards post-multiculturalism? Changing communities, conditions and contexts of diversity


  • Steven Vertovec is Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany. His most recent books are The anthropology of migration and multiculturalism (2009), Transnationalism (2009), The multiculturalism backlash (2010) and a five-volume set, Migration: critical concepts in the social sciences (2010).


Since the turn of the millennium, multiculturalism – a term spanning a variety of policies and institutional frameworks – has been seriously challenged in a number of ways. While critics have increasingly attacked multiculturalism and blamed it for numerous social problems, the nature of global migration and modes of immigrant belonging have themselves changed considerably since the time when multicultural models were first established. By way of exploring the post-multiculturalist condition into which, some commentators suggest, we are all moving, this article addresses the following questions: what are the changing public discourses surrounding multiculturalism? What are the characteristics of new forms of immigration, and how have these new forms of immigration impacted on multicultural theories? What are the relationships of immigrants with sending countries? How do all of these patterns contribute to what might be called post-multiculturalism?