Monthly Archives: September 2015

Emerging Urbanities Seminar: Susanne Wessendorf and Thomas Hylland Eriksen – Pioneer migrants in a super-diverse context

Wednesday September 30, 2015 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm, Uni Rokkansenteret (6 etg), Nygårdsgaten 5, 5015 Bergen, Norway

Susanne Wessendorf: Pioneer migrants in a super-diverse context

Susanne Wessendorf

Urban areas in Europe and beyond have seen significant changes in patterns of immigration, leading to profound diversification. This diversification is characterized by the multiplication of people of different national origins, but also differentiations regarding migration histories, religions, educational backgrounds, legal statuses and socio-economic backgrounds. This ‘diversification of diversity’ is now commonly described as ‘super-diversity’. Despite an increasing number of studies looking at how people live together in such super-diverse contexts, little is known about new patterns of immigration into such contexts. What are the newly emerging countries of origin which add to the diversification of already super-diverse areas? Where do recent migrants from unusual source countries, who cannot draw on already existing migrant or ethnic ‘communities’, find support? And what kinds of social networks do they form? This paper discusses pathways of settlement among recently arrived migrants from non-traditional countries of origin in the London Borough of Hackney. Drawing on earlier migration literature and the notion of ‘pioneer migration’, the paper addresses the challenges of analysing increasingly fragmented migration stories and pathways of settlement in super-diverse contexts.

Thomas Hylland Eriksen: The tension between superdiversity and cultural reproduction


From a bird’s eye perspective, Alna borough in eastern Oslo definitely looks superdiverse. Scores of languages are spoken in its population of 40,000, and its inhabitants come from about as many countries. Yet at the local level, social and cultural reproduction takes place to a great extent at the ethnic or community level. As one of our informants says, ‘I sometimes feel as though I am in Pakistan’. Had it not been for the strong presence of the Norwegian state, the suburb would have resembled the plural societies described in the mid-20th century by Furnivall and Smith, where ethnic groups, like pearls on a necklace, lead parallel lives but meet in the marketplace. How comprehensive is the influence of the state; in what ways does diversity in public affect the private sphere, and what are the main elements in the cultural reproduction of minority groups?

A light lunch will be served.

IMER Lunch Seminar with Johannes Servan – On social distance – the idea of justice and different levels of social interaction

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm, UNI Rokkan senteret (6 etg) Nygårdsgaten 5, 5015 Bergen

In the tradition from Hegel we have become accustomed to think of marginalized subjects as a source of critique and moral development. Concerning immigrants we find a similar idea in Giorgio Agamben’s suggestion on taking the paperless migrants as a paradigm for political reform. Considering extensively debated cases in the Norwegian public, such as the case of Nathan, we might ask whether this reforming potential is part of the picture. How should we conceive the relation between our imagined societies, the “human interest”-stories and the political engagement of non-citizens in cases like this? Based on Alfred Schutz’s analysis of different types of social interaction, this question can be explored in principle as a matter of interconnections between different levels of social distance. If we accept that there is a certain continuity in the moral development from ingroups based on face-to-face interaction to imagined nation-state societies, the central problem could be formulated like this: Should we assume that our obligations to all human beings (non-citizens included) comes out of and is an extension of the kind of sympathy experienced in exclusive ingroups?

Bilde Johannes ServanJohannes Servan is a PhD-student at Department of Philosophy at the University of Bergen (UiB). His thesis “Phenomenology of the citizen” (working title) discusses migration as a phenomenon that brings to the foreground a certain tension in our social imaginaries of universal human rights and nation-state citizenship. More specifically it is concerned with the epistemological relevance of the perspective of foreigners to the parochial biases in our social imaginaries and policy-making of a specific nation-state.


A light lunch will be served.