Table Topics: Conflicts in Multi-Ethnic Societies – How Do We Get Along, If You Are Not Like Me? (Banu Karaca)
Discourses of diversity have been on the rise, and have in part replaced those on multiculturalism – today often designated as a failed concept, especially in Germany. While multiculturalism has generally attended to questions broadly formulated around ‘cultural’ difference, diversity seems to encompass issues of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and class more explicitly. And yet, the question remains to what extent this focus on diversity has decentered the power relations that separate ‘unmarked’ bodies that fit into the normative (and majoritarian frame) from those that are designated to ‘add’ or provide diversity to a social context with regard to gender, sexuality, ethnic background, etc. In this frame, the ‘other’ continues to be designated to auxiliary regions of society rather than being constitutive for it. How do discourses of diversity relate to issues of equality and social justice? If we understand homogeneity as a concept that has dominated modernity and its political manifestation – the nation state – can the concept of diversity help us think through the ‘ethics of living together’?
Banu Karaca (EUME fellow 2016/17) is a sociocultural anthropologist working on the intersection of political anthropology, art and aesthetics, nationalism and cultural policy, museums and commemorative practices. She has been a research fellow with the “Art Histories and Aestetical Practices” program of the Forum Transregionale Studien in 2015/2016 . Currently, she is completing a manuscript entitled “Decivilizing Art: Cultural Policy and Nationalism in Turkey and Germany”, which examines the entrenchment of art in state violence.