Discourses on governing diversity in Europe: Critical analysis of the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue

Abstract : The White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue, published in 2008 by the Council of Europe, is one of the first European level attempts to provide a common guideline for diversity politics in Europe. It introduces the idea of ‘intercultural dialogue’ as a new focus and a method of governing diversity. Our paper aims to investigate the explicit and implicit meanings included in the idea of ‘intercultural dialogue’ and how the idea is rhetorically operationalized as a policy in the White Paper. The investigation is conducted with a lexical and semantic analysis of the text in the White Paper and a discourse analysis of its rhetoric, in order to explore how the ‘intercultural dialogue’ as a policy relies on a mixture of ideas borrowed from different political discourses. The investigation revealed how the concept of intercultural dialogue and other related concepts, such as culture and diversity, embrace power hierarchies. The meanings of these concepts are produced from a hegemonic point of view which grants the ‘intercultural dialogue’ with the power positions of a dialoguer and a dialoguee. The policy rhetoric in the White Paper emphasizes social cohesion in Europe. Its policy discourse does not recognize the societal, cultural, historical, religious, or linguistic differences between European societies, but offers unified – and profoundly Western European – views for the governance of diversity. Formulating a common and generic diversity policy for Europe as a whole inevitably simplifies the idea of diversity in Europe and produces new hierarchies between the subjects and objects of these policies.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 4:21:21 PM
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Tuuli Lähdesmäki, Albin Wagener. Discourses on governing diversity in Europe: Critical analysis of the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Elsevier, 2015, 44, pp.13-28. ⟨10.1016/j.ijintrel.2014.11.002⟩. ⟨hal-02103723⟩

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