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Diversity in times of economic crises: changing discourses and policies on diversity in European countries and Turkey

Güngördü, Feriha Nazda
Over the course of thirty years, urban diversity has become one of the most much-debated discourses in the urban agenda with the increasing dominancy of neoliberal policies in cities. In neoliberal era, diversity in cities has been associated with economic growth and development scenarios which aim to benefit from the positive contributions of diverse identities to the economy. However, diversity has not always been valued or enhanced in cities. Especially in economic crises periods, diversity in cities is tended to be downgraded and seen as a threat to achieving social cohesion, solidarity and economic development. Because, failures of neoliberal policies in ensuring justice in redistribution of resources and recognizing different identities become more visible in economic crisis periods with increasing socio-economic gaps between individuals and with the policies of public authorities that foster such gaps between groups. Moreover, with austerity measures and conservative policies of governments, diversity become even more undervalued and all these crisis-driven policies against diversity in cities threatens the achievements of countries in building a social model for everyone just like the case in European Countries. For that reason, this study aims to put forward the negative relationship between economic crisis, crisis-driven policies and diversity in European Countries and Turkey; since these countries have diverse populations and have undergone serious economic crisis such as the crisis of 2001 and 2008. Throughout the study, qualitative research design based on documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews were used to justify the aim of the study.