Changing dynamics of urban diversity


The session is organised by members of the Diversity Studies Centre Oslo (DISCO)’s working group on urban space and diversity, Oslo Metropolitan University:

  • Marianne Millstein, NIBR, Oslo Metropolitan University (main contact person):
  • Mikkel Berg-Nordlie, NIBR, Oslo Metropolitan University
  • Erika Gubrium, Department of Social Work, Child Welfare and Social Policy, Oslo Metropolitan University

We plan hybrid panels to accommodate international participants unable to travel to Oslo.

Call for abstracts

Questions of diversity, difference and divides are central to urban studies. Cities are celebrated as places and spaces where diversity – cultural, social, political – can flourish. At the same time, cities are sites where diversities and differences are sources of contestation and tension, where urban encounters may (re)construct and destabilise boundaries of inclusion and exclusion (Ye 2019).

Research agendas on urban diversity and difference include questions of migration, work and social inclusion, social differentiations and their intersections, indigenous urbanisation, as well as the management and governance of increasing urban diversity and difference (Raco and Tasan-Kok 2019).

The current pandemic has further alerted us to the complex dynamics of urban diversity, both by exposing socio-spatial inequalities, changing patterns of mobility and migration, and by revealing how representations of differently positioned citizens – socially, culturally, ethnically – play out in media and policy debates.  


Inspired by Ye’s (2019) question about how we ‘live with difference in shared spaces’, we aim to discuss multiple dynamics of urban diversity and explore the productive encounters and frictions that shape inclusion and exclusion in multiple spaces and places of the city.

To structure our session, we are particularly interested in papers that address one or more of the following themes:

Conceptualizing diversity in the city

Increasing interest in diversity opens up new questions and debates about how we understand and approach diversity in the city. Here, we aim to explore some of these different perspectives and conceptualizations further. We are interested in the implications these conceptualizations may have for how we research the dynamics of urban diversity in different settings.

Encountering urban diversity

We are also interested in research that focus on the many ways diversity is experienced in various spaces and places of the city. What are the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion experienced in everyday space? How is urban diversity managed in urban policies, governance and planning?

Migrants, mobility and the city, in light of the Covid pandemic

We are interested in contributions that explore how differentiated citizenship operates in intersection with identities such as class, gender, race, ethnicity to shape sense of place, mobility and the specific opportunity structures connected to everyday life in the city, including access to housing and public spaces. We are especially interested in contributions that explore this theme in light of the Covid pandemic.

Submit an abstract

We ask that abstracts limited to 200-300 words be sent directly to the organizers of the different sessions. Please see the session pages for details.

Please share this call with your colleagues or other interested parties. We hope to see you in Oslo come October!

On language

The conference primary language is Norwegian and Nordic languages, but many of our sessions will be conducted in English. All sessions welcome contributions in English, unless explicitly stated otherwise.