Governing the multicultural city: Europe’s ‘great urban expectations’ facing austerity and resurgent nativism

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This article analyses European discourses on ‘optimal’ urban inclusion policies, as they are embodied in EU-sponsored city networking initiatives. Drawing from the scholarships on multiculturalism and urban austerity, it builds an inclusion agendas matrix that identifies four ideal-typical agendas for ethnic and racial inclusion: multicultural, diversity inclusion, community cohesion, and neoliberalised diversity. It identifies a shift from group-based to individual-based concerns (mainstreaming) and from a politicised to a depoliticised approach to inclusion (depoliticising). It argues that (a) this double shift should be understood as the result of the mutually-reinforcing pressures of nativism and austerity, and (b) inconsistencies in network discourses and policy advice suggest a pragmatic-adaptive logic that challenges simplistic understandings of cities as either (only) sites of resistance or (only) sites of full-blown accommodation of nativist and austerity imperatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalUrban Studies
Early online date2 Dec 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Dec 2019


  • Multiculturalism
  • Austerity
  • Urban austerity

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