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SUS.DIV Final Conference on "Diversity for sustainable development: towards a new research agenda?"

SUS.DIV Final Conference was organised by FEEM and held in Brussels on 20th October 2010. Based on the experiences and findings of the Network over the last 5 years, the Conference aimed at discussing with the research community some proposals for the future direction of diversity research.

Diversity is one of the key words of our time. As globalisation is making the world smaller, bringing in interaction an increasing diversity of people, products and ideas, the question of whether and how we can live and prosper together while keeping and enjoying our differences is becoming crucial.
SUS.DIV thinks that research could contribute to the knowledge-base for the design of appropriate policies and structures. We also think that the complexity of diversity challenges the very methods and structure of research.

 The focus was on the following four themes:

  • The dilemma of context. Diversity, as any social issue, is always a problem in context. Research must however be able to abstract from context and to generalise. How to reconcile/recombine the two? What methods have been adopted by the different disciplines? What implications for discipline and interdisciplinary research?  
  • Diversity, inequality and hierarchy. Diversity is inextricably linked to inequality and the creation of hierarchies. However, the vocabularies of those focusing on inequality issue differ greatly from those considering the question of diversity. What are the underlying assumptions of each perspective? What are the new research questions if the two agendas are brought together? How can these new questions be studied?  
  • Diversity, democracy and governance. Liberal tradition is conceived in terms of individuals and the state. While diversity policies tend to focus on (cultural) groups, it is now evident that culture cannot longer represent the solution to the tension between the individual and the state. What way forward should research investigate?
  • Diversity as capital. There is an increasing emphasis, both in policy and research, on the potential of diversity for creativity, innovation, development at large. The underlying mechanisms remain however largely unknown and the dilemma between conservation and development seems unsolved. What mechanisms should research shed new light on? Is there a dilemma between conservation and development? How to address it?
To download the programme click here
To download the list of participants click here



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