Responding to Complex Diversity in Europe and Canada (RECODE)

This interdisciplinary, comparative ESF networking programme is intended to explore to what extent the processes of transnationalisation, migration, religious mobilisation and cultural differentiation entail a new configuration of social conflict in post-industrial societies. Such a possible new constellation we here label complex diversity. The leading idea is that such diversity is developing at a global level, but particularly in European-style societies, where social entitlements, supranational policies and cultural diversity enjoy a considerable, but often contradictory degree of legitimacy. In this perspective, Canada offers some interesting similarities and contrasts with Europe.


The process of nation-building has generally been described in terms of struggles for territorial concentration of power, political participation and social rights. Since then social and political alignments have experienced a great change. What could be deemed the “simple diversity” of industrial societies – allocation struggles along class lines within sovereign states – has given place to a new, “complex diversity” in which a variety of social, political and cultural cleavages overlap and compete for political legitimacy at a national and supranational level.

The programme aims at identifying cleavages and normative issues that this new constellation raises on both sides of the Atlantic, and at developing expertise in the institutions, public policies and cultural resources that can respond to them. The thematic focus of the programme covers the areas of linguistic diversity and political communication, religious pluralism, transnationalism and, finally, multiculturalism and welfare state policies.

Programme leaders are the “Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism” (CEREN), Helsinki, the „Centre National de Recherche Scientifique“ (CNRS), Paris, and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CIC), Madrid.

Within the programme, eight workshops and a summer school for post-graduate students will be organized. A working paper series will be published on the programme website.