International migration changed large West European cities dramatically. In only two generations’ time, their ethnic make-up is turned upside down. Cities like Amsterdam and Brussels now are majority–minority cities: the old majority group became a minority. This new reality asks for an up-to-date perspective on assimilation and integration. In this article, I will show why grand theories like segmented and new assimilation theory no longer suffice in tackling that new reality of large cities, and I will question critically whether using the perspective of super-diversity is more pertinent for our analyses. Children of immigrants nowadays no longer integrate into the majority group, but into a large amalgam of ethnic groups. Next to the diversification of ethnic groups, we see diversification within ethnic groups in the second and third generations. I will focus on intergenerational social mobility patterns given that they are key to existing grand theories of assimilation. I will argue that super-diversity theory can only partially show us the way. To further build an alternative theoretical perspective, we also need to borrow from the intersectional approach and the integration context theory.

assimilation theory, diversity, integration context theory, social mobility, Super-diversity,
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS)

Crul, M.R.J. (2016). Super-diversity vs. assimilation: how complex diversity in majority–minority cities challenges the assumptions of assimilation. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 42(1), 54–68. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2015.1061425