UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
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UNESCO-MOST Multicultural Policies and Modes of Citizenship in European Cities (MPMC)


Volume 2
Nr. 1, February 1999

This Newsletter is presented by the:


City Templates
Financial Matters
New, revised planning for 1999 and 2000


This Newsletter is presented to you by the IMES. It is meant to inform all participants of and those interested in the UNESCO-MOST MPMC-project on topics and developments concerning the programme. It will appear as many times a year as necessary, depending on the developments of the programme.

The MPMC project is formally adopted by the UNESCO-MOST programme since 1996. In the research project social scientists from a variety of disciplines will undertake research and comparative analysis within selected urban contexts characterised by a substantial presence and activity of immigrant and ethnic minority groups. Working with policy makers and members of local organisations, their task is to access the development and interplay of both ‘bottom-up’ (community led) initiatives and ‘top-down’ (municipality created) policies aimed at better integrating immigrant and ethnic minorities in public decision making processes. Of central concern to the project are what we shall term ‘channels of activation and mobilisation’ in European cities; organisations, actions or institutions through which immigrant and ethnic minority communities (are supposed to) make their interests and concerns known to municipal decision-makers and other significant actors in the various societal domains. The key-questions to be answered by all research teams can be summarised as follows; how do local authorities activate immigrants and ethnic minorities to participate in political decision making in general and in relation to their position in particular; how do immigrants and ethnic minority members mobilise to improve their position and to influence policies relating to that position; how do activation policies of authorities and mobilisation of immigrants and ethnic minorities interact?

To ensure international comparative research the project has taken stock of all particularities of a city in the form of so called city templates. The cities are not only embedded as cities in national units that differ in several aspects; they supposedly have a special history and profile as well; as a local unit in the political, economic and cultural sense. Histories of immigration and composition of the immigrant population differ significantly and consequently also policies relating to it. The city templates have a double function. For the research teams it will serve primarily as a starting point for the field research of the project and for policy makers it will provide a first inventory of possibilities and experiences in the field. The first workshop on the field research itself is planned for November 1999.

The MPMC project is co-ordinated by Dr. Marco Martiniello (Liege), Prof. Dr. Rinus Penninx (IMES, University of Amsterdam) and Dr. Steven Vertovec (Oxford University). The secretariat of the MPMC project is founded at the IMES under co-ordination of Mrs. Karen Kraal.

City Templates

The CT-Editorial committee selected 13 City Templates which will be published on the UNESCO-MPMC Website of the following cities; Amsterdam, Athens, Antwerp, Barcelona, Birmingham, Brussels, Cologne, Liege, Milan, Oeiras, Roma, Turin and Zurich. A letter explaining the procedure will be send to all the research teams. The next step will be the preparation of a book covering the MPMC research topics and including contributions of the various research teams.


In the project it is envisaged that in a number of cases it is possible and worthwhile to establish more specific comparisons between a limited number of cities on specific well-defined research topics and questions. Research teams that join forces to do specific comparisons are called ‘clusters’

Cluster 1. News on the ‘immigrant/ethnic minority organisational networks and their liaison with city-officials’ cluster.
Co-ordinators: dr. Meindert Fennema and dr. Jean Tillie

The study focuses on the question to what extent the structure of the network of migrant organisations can be explained from the interaction between the ‘political opportunity structure’ (i.e. the structure of local government institutions and the policy with respect to migrant organisations) and the objectives of the migrant organisations themselves.

In the period September-November 1998 two students from the Institute of Migration and Ethnic Studies of the University of Amsterdam visited Liege and Zurich to collect data on ethnic minority organisational networks (hosted by the CEDEM in Liege and Swiss Forum for Migration Studies in Zurich, see below). Key persons were interviewed and policy documents were gathered. These data are now analysed. A first report will be presented at the MPMC November meeting.

Further we are glad to report that Marina Petronoti of the National Centre for Social Research (EKKE) in Athens joined the cluster. She is now working on a study of ethnic associations in Kypseli (Athens).

A short impression of the fieldwork in Liege by Liza Nell.

A list with information on 250 organisations of ‘Le Centre d’Etudes de l’Etnicité et des Migrations’ formed the start of the research in Liège on migrant organisations. The first month took a lot of phoning and visiting of these organisations. The main occupation was checking if they still existed in the form they were presented on the mentioned list; a lot of migrant organisations disappear after a short time or change their address or administration for all kinds of reasons. Visiting these organisations gave the opportunity to ask them about other organisations they knew and worked with. Some gave me lists with names and addresses of partners and contacts and others introduced me to people who are active in concerning areas.

Although people were in general really willing to receive me and speak about their activities it was not easy to get access to all groups of migrants. Sometimes it was necessary to try and find key persons who could mediate. This was especially the case with small and poorly registrated organisations; besides mediation key persons had to make me aware of the existence of these organisations. A residence of three months was too short to take stock of all the organisations.

At the end of my research I encountered an amount of 817 organisations in Liège. About 50 percent of these are so-called ‘intercultural organisations’ and organisations who work with or for migrants; the remaining are migrant (self) organisations. Although we must see see what kind of networks will appear out of the analysis we are going to do, there definitely are formal and informal relations and links between these organisations.

A short impression of the fieldwork in Zurich by Freija Mostert.

Concerning the networks, structures, activities, aims and expectations of immigrant organisations in Zurich a lot is still unknown. At the beginning of my research in Zurich I found very little structural information and documentation on immigrant organisations. I received comments that my research was going to be very difficult and would cost a lot of energy without the certainty of finding the information I was hoping for. It took me a month of repeatedly and systematically phoning immigrant organisations and organisations which supported immigrants to establish valuable contacts and appointments with representatives. Through these contacts new contacts were established and in the second month of the research I was travelling from one side of the city to the other; meeting representatives in their homes, in places of worship, at festivals and at the organisations themselves. Almost all persons I spoke to were very co-operative and took a lot of (spare)time to talk to me about their organisations, their political ideas about integration and personal stories.

I did find signs of structures and networks among immigrant groups also in relation to organisations supporting immigrants. There are organisations very active with integration, political mobility and their own identity. Some of these organisations exist for quite some time and others are new. Structures are intensified, others are dissolving ( for instance Spanish structures build up by the anti-fascist movement at the end of the ‘60’s ) or being created (Albanian federation Perparimi). The great variation and many differences between different groups of immigrants have made the process of the research in Zurich very interesting.

In the near future I hope to uncover the networks and structures of these immigrant organisations (and the organisations supporting them) by means of a network analysis. I will be able to inform you more on this at a later stage in the research.

Cluster 2. Immigrant and ethnic minority politicians and the development of an active citizenship;
co-ordinator dr. Marco Martiniello of the University of Liège.

In many European countries, the issue of the presence of ethnic politicians in elected offices at the various level of power (from the city councils to Parliament and national government in some cases) has recently emerged as a crucial issue for the political inclusion/exclusion process affecting immigrant ethnic groups. Does this 'new' phenomenon translate a new phase in the politicisation of ethnicity among these groups? Does it call for a reconstruction of national identities of majority groups? Are 'ethnic politicians' the 'natural' representatives of 'their' community or are they just on this matter like any other non-ethnic politician? Do they encourage political communitarinism or do they promote assimilation within a renewed conception of citizenship?

This cluster addresses these issues both at the theoretical and empirical level. At the theoretical level, it adopts an perspective combining an instrumentalist and constructional approach to ethnicity, on the one hand, and stresses, on the other hand, the crucial role of the structure of political opportunities in shaping both the patterns of ethnic mobilisation and the political inclusion processes of ethnic politicians in each of the case-studies.

At the empirical level, a comparative approach based on in-depth interviews and in-site observation of ethnic politicians’ action should be developed in up to 5 cities included in the project.

Cluster 3.Revitalising the group on ‘Social relations in city neighbourhoods’,
by Andreas Wimmer.

During the Amsterdam conference several research teams, among others from Italy, Sweden, Spain, and Switzerland, decided to form a cluster around the topic of everyday social relations and political incorporation in city neighbourhoods. The central aim of the cluster was, if I remember correctly, to know more about the way that different modes of political incorporation influence everyday interactions and the formation of categories of inclusion and exclusion on the level of neighbourhoods. The common focus would thus be on the micro-social sphere of everyday relations in environments that can be directly observed.

Unfortunately, the leader of the cluster has not been able to take attempts to bring the group together. This is a pity because their seemed to be much potential for cross-city comparison and exchange which might otherwise be lost. Furthermore, we loose a ‘bottom-up’ approach that we considered to be a useful complement to other clusters taking a ‘top-down’ approach.

If there is still interest in setting up a cluster, eventually leading up to a comparative report for the next conference later this year, I should like to make some efforts at co-ordinating and bringing people together. Please contact me under my E-mail address, which is as follows: andreas.wimmer@fsm.unine.ch.

Financial Matters

A positive decision has been taken by UNESCO-central regarding the applications for the PP-programme of Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom but only Switzerland has till now received the financial support.


The Third Metropolis Conference took place in Israel from November the 30th till December the 4th, 1998. One of the special workshops (one and a half day) of that conference was on "Political Participation Across Immigrant and Ethnoracial Communities", organised by Myer Siemiatycki of Ryerson Polytechnic University, Toronto, Canada (msiemiat@acs.ryerson.ca). MPMC was invited to participate and two members of MPMC presented a paper at the workshop: Andreas Wimmer on Zürich and Rinus Penninx on Amsterdam. Penninx also presented the MPMC-project by using the MPMC-framework for the presentation of the Amsterdam material.

There were two more European contributions: Zig Layton-Henry presented London and Mohammed Anwar presented Birmingham. There were two contribution from Israel: one on Haifa by Gustavo Mesch and one on Tel Aviv by Gila Menachem. Two contributions came from Canada: Myer Siemiatycki on Toronto and John Biles on Ottowa. The USA-contribution was delivered by Sheila Croucher on Miami. Susan Thompson presented a Australian paper on Sydney. And finally there was a contribution of Yoshikuni Higachi on Japan in general and on Tokyo in particular.

The workshop was well organised: the first half was devoted to the introduction of the topic and presentation of cases; the second half to cross-city analysis according to a number of salient topics.

The papers of the workshop will be published in the proceedings of the Conference. An initiative will be taken to see whether a book publication, based on revised and edited contributions will be worthwhile.

The Fourth Annual International Metropolis Conference will be held during the first week of December 1999 in Washington D.C. The focus of the Washington talks will be on societal membership and the incorporation of immigrants in urban housing and labour markets. Marco Martiniello will take the initiative to see if a workshop can be organised within the framework of the MPMC project in possible collaboration with Meyer Siematycki.


There are several interesting groups/persons the MPMC wants to keep in contact with.
  • The Duisburg/Münster/Wuppertall comparative study of the Interdisciplinary Institute for Conflict and Violence Research (IICVR) of the University of Bielefeld (Heitmeijer and others). A group of researchers of this institute has visited the IMES at Amsterdam in autumn last year. They were very interested in the MPMC-study, because the Institute of the Bielefeld University was involved in a quite substantial research project in which cities in North-Rhine/Westphalia are compared. The umbrella-project is called "Societal Disintegration and Ethnic-Cultural Conflict in Urban Areas". The programme has a number of subprojects of which the first is called `The potential for Ethnic-Cultural Conflict as perceived by the urban host society and the immigration population'. This subproject is implemented in the three cities mentioned above.
  • Roman Garbaye a PhD-student of the Worcester College of Oxford University who concerns himself with the topic of comparing ethnic minority political participation in the cities of Birmingham and Lille. He has delivered a city template of Birmingham at the secretariat of the MPMC-project.
  • Harlan Koff , also a PhD-student, is currently writing a dissertation on the integration of non-European Union immigrants in the mentioned four cities. He was informed on the MPMC-project by Nadia Auriat.
  • The Bernhard Perchinig comparative study of Hamburg, Amsterdam, Birmingham and Vienna. This project is called ‘Migrant Policy of European Cities: A Comparison of Strategies against Social Exclusion and Xenophobia’ and is sponsored by the Austrian Ministry of Science. The cities have been selected as representing different national regimes: 1) ex-colonial (Birmingham), 2)Gastarbeiterregimes (Hamburg and Vienna), and 3) Scandinavian/Dutch `denizenship' regimes (Amsterdam). Social in/exclusion in a number of domains (including political in/exclusion and participation) will be examined in the four cities and compared. Perchinig mentioned that he has recently finished a report on Hamburg and handed that to the ministry.

New, revised planning for 1999 and 2000

February 1999 Publication of City Templates on the UNESCO/MOST Website
May-June 1999 Finishing manuscript of the book based on the CT's (Publication depends very much on the publisher.)
September 1st 1999 Draft reports of research based on the general framework (We have planned within the Amsterdam team that we will decide on and establish a detailed framework for reporting already in the beginning of March 1999; a number of researchers have to write their contributions then between March and July 15th; a co-ordinated report has to be ready by September 1st 1999)
1-3 Nov. 1999 Workshop of researchers in order to:
- prepare a workshop with policy makers;
- prepare publications based on the research;
- development of the research programme.
December 1999 Fourth Annual International Metropolis Conference
March 2000 Workshop with policy makers and representatives of immigrant organisations.


As already mentioned the city templates will be made available on the website of UNESCO: www.unesco.org/most/p97.htm. This website also includes the project statement of the MPMC project.

In the near future UNESCO-MOST will publish a brochure of the MPMC project which will be send to all the participants of the MPMC project and to research councils and member states. Participants of the MPMC will receive several exemplars for dissemination.

We want to invite you to send us all information which you think is important to bring to the attention of all participants. The central person of the secretariat is Drs. Karen Kraal, her email address is Kraal@pscw.uva.nl.

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