Jensen, Tina Gudrun, and Rebecka Söderberg, Governing Urban Diversity through Myths of National Sameness – a Comparative Analysis of Denmark and Sweden, Journal of Organizational Ethnography, 11.1 (2021), 5–19
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore problematisations of urban diversity in urban and integration policies in Denmark and Sweden; the paper aims to show how such policies express social imaginaries about the self and the other and underlying assumptions of sameness that legitimise diverging ways of managing urban diversity and (re)organising the city.
Design/methodology/approach Inspired by anthropology of policy and post-structural approaches to policy analysis, the authors approach urban and integration policies as cultural texts that are central to the organisation of cities and societies. With a comparative approach, the authors explore how visions of diversity take shape and develop over time in Swedish and Danish policies on urban development and integration.
Findings Swedish policy constructs productiveness as crucial to the imagined national sameness, whereas Danish policy constructs cultural sameness as fundamental to the national self-image. By constructing the figure of “the unproductive”/“the non-Western” as the other, diverging from an imagined sameness, policies for organising the city through removing and “improving” urban diverse others are legitimised.
Originality/value The authors add to previous research by focussing on the construction of the self as crucial in processes of othering and by highlighting how both nationalistic and colour-blind policy discourses construct myths of national sameness, which legitimise the governing of urban diversity. The authors highlight and de-naturalise assumptions and categorisations by showing how problem representations differ over time and between two neighbouring countries.