How do policymakers, politicians and organisations approach migration and diversity? It’s a highly topical question in today’s world, and one the universities of Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam will be tackling directly from 1 September 2016, when they launch their joint specialisation in the Governance of Migration and Diversity for Master’s degree students. But why have they coupled these two particular concepts? Marlou Schrover, Professor of the History of Migration at Leiden, explains…
‘Diversity is a consequence of migration, which changes both the ethnic and the religious composition of a society. For example, islam is expanding in Europe as a result of immigration. You can’t separate ethnic diversity from other forms of diversity such as religion, class and sexuality. That’s why we’ve included that term, ‘diversity’, so explicitly in the title of the degree programme.
Dealing with ethnic difference is dealing with all the differences in a society, across the whole spectrum. But which of those are important? And how do you approach them? Take class differences. Nowadays, we as a society tend to explain them away a bit. It’s said that everyone has equal opportunities. So if juvenile crime rates are higher in ethnic minorities, that’s put down to the ethnic rather than the class difference. But it’s highly questionable whether that’s really the case. Young criminals are often poorly educated school-leavers from deprived neighbourhoods, living in overcrowded homes and with no prospects on the job market. Is that a class difference? Or is it an ethnic phenomenon?
Or take male and female roles. In our society, the role of women has changed over time. One of the reasons why a lot of women’s organisations started taking an interest in migration was that they were afraid they would have to repeat half of the emancipation process all over again. That’s the kind of thing we’ll be looking at in this Master’s programme. How do you deal with all aspects of difference? That’s not just about dealing with ethnic difference alone.’