Paradigmatic pragmatism and the politics of diversity
How migration and mobilizations of difference are accommodated at the local level is a burning question. Concepts adopted by local governments and the capacities of cities to formulate and implement these have received increasing attention, but often without examining the ideas and norms that underlie local concepts and practices. This article assesses the hypothesis of local-level pragmatism, which it rejects, and develops the notion of ‘paradigmatic pragmatism’ to characterize how local-level politics address mobilizations of difference. Based on empirical findings from Amsterdam, Antwerp and Leeds, and comparing the content and the implementation of ‘diversity policies’, I argue against a dichotomy of pragmatic vs ideational politics. Instead, these cities draw on a variety of ideas and pragmatically combine them under the header of diversity. This paradigmatic pragmatism invites further research on the effects of potential incompatibilities of immigrant policy ideas.