LIVING TOGETHER IN DIVERSITY. A JOURNEY FROM SCHOLARLY VIEWS TO PEOPLE’S VOICES AND BACK
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One of the most pressing and challenging questions which contemporary societies are facing today is how to reconcile social unity with ethno-cultural, racial, and religious diversity. While scholars have largely investigated the ways in which diversity is excluded and marginalized, relatively fewer studies have been conducted on how diversity can also be socially included. How can we live together in diversity? This article offers an inter-disciplinary account of how scholars have responded to this question, while also analyzing the ways in which their answers find resonance among people’s voices, collected in four European regions. Moving from scholarly perspectives to people’s voices and back, the article cautions against both the liberal/republican/civic approach which heralds political principles as the ties that can bind diverse people together and the factual/post-foundational approach which, being skeptical towards principles, values, and identities, looks for answers in everyday encounters and practices. While the former remains indeed blind to the ways in which people imbue political principles with cultural values, the latter tend to obliterate how the everyday is often a terrain where to practice and assess cultural similarity. However elusive and always context-specific the answers to ‘living together in diversity’ might be, the article calls for a continuous journey between the normative and the factual/post-foundational, while remaining constantly open to people’s voices.