WP95 Citizenship, language and superdiversity: Towards complexity



There is a dramatic need to unthink and rethink some of the most basic concepts in social science ? notions such as community, identity, and indeed citizenship. The reason for this is that since the early 1990s, some fundamental changes have taken place in the ways in which all of these notions take shape in real life. Vertovec (2007, 2010) has described these changes as a transition from ?diversity? to ?superdiversity?, a diversification of diversity due to changes in the migration patterns worldwide. People from more places now migrate to more places, causing unprecedented forms of social and cultural diversity especially in the large urban centers of the world. Adding to this complexity, the emergence and global spread of the Internet and other forms of mobile communication technologies ? synchronous with the new forms of migration ? have created a ?network society? in which people live and act in relation to long-distance, ?virtual? peers in sometimes enormous online communities. Taken together, these two forces have re-shaped social life around the world, and the most sensitive index of these transformations is the emergence and development of new forms of human communication ? the social transformations go hand in hand with sociolinguistic transformations yielding degrees of complexity hard to imagine previously, and prompting an escalation of new terminology to describe them (languaging, polylanguaging, transidiomatic practices, metrolingualism, supervernacularization and so forth).? The problem is one of imagination: how do we imagine these new forms of complexity?