Petra Kelemen, Sanja Đurin and Iva Krtalić-Muiesan were convenors of the thematic panel “Politics of differences between utopias and realities” at the SIEF2015 12th Congress, Zagreb, Croatia, 21-25 June 2015.
Although in public discourse cultural differences often appear as a desirable category, their inclusion into public policies and everyday life does not go without problems. Despite the utopian idea and desire for a harmonious co-existence of different religious, national, gender, ethnic and other groups, in reality we witness various occurrences of “neorasicm” and constant divisions and social stratification on those grounds. Moreover, cultural differences per se, although in principle seen as present and favourable, are nonetheless insufficiently problematised and scientifically dealt with.
This panel called for the participation of all those who are trying to ethnographically grasp discourses on cultural differences and various everyday practices of living those differences. How are multiculturality and multiculturalism discursively constructed? In which situations are cultural differences described as positive and in which are they seen as a threat? How do experiences of social exclusion and marginalisation relate to differences in the sphere of public policies? Do public policies provide an emancipatory potential? How do cities, stratified along numerous lines, shape their policies in regard to differences, how does civil society treat differences and how do various groups inscribe the (self)attributed differences into the fabric of the city? How do individuals construct, live and think about their religious, gender, racial, national, ethnic and other differences?
Panel participants and abstacts.