WP224 Light communities?: Implications for research on diversity & activism

PĂ©rez-Milans & Soto
2017
Collection: Key word

Abstract

This paper engages with Blommaert?s (2017) call to refocus the target of attention in the mainstream social sciences, from ?thick communities?, understood as stable systems of collectivity in which individuals share a set of permanent features circumscribed by the nation-state, towards ?light communities?, seen as ?brief moments of tight but temporary and ephemeral groupness, as aggregations of people sharing just the rules of the encounters? but little beyond it? (Blommaert 2017: p. 34; see also Blommaert & Varis, 2015). As part of ongoing discussions of ?superdiversity? (Blommaert, Rampton, Spotti, 2016) which invite scholars in the language disciplines to problematize modernist frames in the sociological imagination of social groups, this call offers possibilities for researchers collaborating with activists in the fieldwork. There are, however, important dangers and limitations that need to be acknowledged. These issues are discussed in this paper, for which we draw on our 5-year collaborative project working with social actors commonly labelled as ?ethnic minorities? in the Hong Kong context.