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Lecture | CMGI Brown Bag Seminar

Differentiation before Superdiversity: a historical perspective on diversity policies and practices in the Netherlands 1945-now

Tuesday 19 December 2023
CMGI Brown Bag Seminars 2023-2024
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference room (2.60)


Suzan’s research is focused on the history of diversity policies in the Netherlands since 1945. Her research fits within the larger interdisciplinary project Dilemmas of Doing Diversity which examines how diversity policies are shaped, implemented and put into practice and how they contribute (or not) to more inclusive societies. The concept (super)diversity is presented inside and outside academia as a new phenomenon that needs new policy approaches. The problematization of difference in policies is however all but new. The 1950s witnessed a rise of Dutch governmental policies aimed at the integration of so-called anti-social families. Anti-social behaviour (such as having dirty houses, alcohol abuse, “sexual immorality” and crime) was seen as the result of a lack of moral values, and not as the result of poverty or inequality. Above all, this behavior was considered markedly different from the rest of society and policies were implemented to integrate anti-social families. In current debates on difference – or diversity – ethnicity/race is more often problematized. This raises the question if, how and why notions of race started to replace notions of class in governmental diversity policies. I here define diversity policies as policies that were aimed at and problematized group-related deviant behaviour. My main question is: How have diversity policies in the Netherlands changed since 1945 and which factors explain shifts in focus over time?

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