CfP: Thinking Beyond Boundaries: Researching Ethnoheterogenesis in Contexts of Diversities and Social Change

Call for Papers for a special issue of New Diversities, a journal of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

Thinking Beyond Boundaries:
Researching Ethnoheterogenesis in Contexts of Diversities and Social Change
Guest Editors: Mathias Bös, Nina-Clara Tiesler & Deborah Sielert

The study of societal change and ethnic relations has been a core pursuit in the Social Sciences, both in the past and in the present, especially – though not exclusively – in historical contexts marked by heightened migration and diversification. This special issue aims to refine the theoretical understanding of social and cultural processes regarding the formation of ethnicities and ethnic diversity (Yancey et al 1976, Bös 2010).
The specific contribution of this Special Issue goes to the research context of migrants and migrant descendants, wherein conceptual debates on self-perceptions, modes of belonging, group formation, and collective subjectivities continue to be at the core of theoretical considerations (Cohen 1974, Glazer and Moynihan 1975, Banton 2008). Importantly, the contributions to this special issue go beyond this context: studying the genesis and continuously shifting social forms of ethnicities is heuristically important in that it can help us clarify processes of socio-, cultural-, and political change in society at large (Bell 1975, Bös 2011, Banton 2011).
Researching the emergence of ethnicities has a long tradition in diverse social sciences and in the humanities. The term ethnogenesis originally described constitutive processes of ethnic group(ing)s, their possible fissions, de-ethnization, expansion, or new formations over time and space (Singer 1962, Voss 2008). From the mid-1970s onward, in American Sociology, ethnogenesis was also used to grasp societal assimilation, integration, and change caused by ethnic diversification (Greeley 1974), as such describing socio-cultural change among both minority and majority groupings and in society at large.
However, it appears that current analytical concepts and frameworks to describe the genesis of ethnicities and societal change through ethnic diversification are too limited to grasp these complex and multi-dimensional formative processes (Barth 1969, Fardon 1987, Thompson 2011, Bös 2015). These concepts (e.g., assimilation, (hybrid) “identity”, integration, diversity, inclusion, multi-ethnic societies, etc.) often represent normative self-descriptions by civil society rather than analytical categories of heuristic value. Therefore, new concepts are regularly developed, such as Superdiversity (Vertovec) and Ethnic and Symbolic Boundaries (Barth, Wimmer) or intersectionality (Crenshaw), concepts which are used as a starting point to sharpen a new process category that we coin Ethnoheterogenesis (EHG).
EHG provides an analytical perspective to grasp multidimensional models of specific forms of societization (Vergesellschaftung), which involve ethnic framing and affiliations of individuals, groupings, and macro groups (Tiesler 2018). Rather than reducing such formative processes to linear models, new concepts such as Ethnoheterogenesis explicitly address the dialectic of homogenization and heterogenization in the genesis of ethnicities, as well as the normality of de-ethnization and multiple options regarding ethnic affiliation (Waters 1990).
The aim of the special issue is to further develop EHG or other new alternatives as analytical categories for processes of socio-cultural change in complex settings of transnationally constituted societies that can be coined ethnoheterogeneous (Claussen 2013). We invite scholars for a critical contribution in favor of further theorizing, along the concept of EHG or other analytical tools. Both conceptual papers and empirical studies are welcomed. We are also interested in covering a wide range of geographical locations and would like to draw on a diverse set of case studies.

500-word abstracts and short CVs (up to 300 words) are due to the guest editor (d.sielert@ish.uni-hannover.de) no later than April 28, 2019. Authors will be notified of the decision by Mid-May, 2019. For the articles accepted to the special issue, full papers, of 8000 words, will be due in September, 2019, with a planned publication date of spring 2020.

New Diversities (previously the International Journal on Multicultural Societies) is an international, peer-reviewed scholarly journal of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, committed to publishing interdisciplinary and policy-related social science research in the fields of diversity, migration, multicultural policies, and human rights.


Deborah Sielert, M. A.

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin im Verbundsforschungsprojekt:
Cultural Heritage als Ressource?

Institut für Soziologie (Soziologische Theorien)
Leibniz Universität Hannover
Königsworther Platz 1
30167 Hannover
d.sielert@ish.uni-hannover.de

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