Course Title: Diversity and Identity: Immigrant Integration and Public Space
Dates: 16/01/2007-02/02/2007
Professor: Jan Rath, Annemarie Bodaar (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Course Summary:
International migration has become a central characteristic of modern cities. The vast majority of immigrants and their descendants gravitate to urban areas and, in doing so, add new dimensions to the already existing diversities. The spatial and social mobility of the population, but also the rise and decline of urban lifestyles and subcultures, and the ever changing social relations between individuals and groups in urban settings are accordingly matters of serious scientific scrutiny.
Urban public space is obviously a key site of host-immigrant encounter. Many people have a rather gloomy view of these encounters: debates about the immigration—public space nexus are often riddled with issues of fear and concern for security. Without trivializing these fears and concern, it could also be argued that this view is one-sided as urban public space can also be the site of meetings, exchanges and of opportunities.
This course explores i) how immigrants make their way in post-industrial cities in advances economies and how and under what conditions their ethnic identity changes over time, ii) the spatial distribution of immigrants in urban settings and its influence on ethnic identity, and iii) manifestations of the immigration—diversity—public space nexus.

After following this course, students:
Have a thorough knowledge on the dynamics of international migration, on patterns and policies of immigration in urban societies in Europe and North America, and how these reflect upon the ethnic identity of immigrants;
b) Are able to apply the theoretical insights to concrete cases of cities and city-regions in Europe;
c) Understand the differentiation in validity of these theories in different parts of Europe and different types of cities and city-regions;
d) Are able to actively participate in academic group discussions on identity and immigration theories, critically reflecting on their strengths and weaknesses as well as their explicit or implicit assumptions and/or normative character.




Title of the Lecture

Abstract & Readings



Jan Rath, Annemarie Bodaar (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Immigration, assimilation and diversity

This class is about integration and assimilation, the processes by which immigrants become an accepted part of society with equal legal/political, socio-economic and cultural opportunities. This class aims to provide an introduction to these issues and will serve as a basis for further study in the field. Student, moreover, develop an awareness of the plurality of integration policies and outcomes, and the ability to disentangle normative underpinnings from actual situations.

Required reading:

Alba, R. & V. Nee (1997) ‘Rethinking Assimilation Theory for a New Era of Immigration’, International Migration Review, 31 (4), Winter, pp. 826-874

Bodaar, A. & J. Rath (2005) ‘Cities, Diversity and Public Space’, Metropolis World Bulletin, 5, pp. 3-5.

Garcés-Mascareñas, B. (2005) Political, Socio-Economic and Cultural Integration. Immigration Policy and Practice from an International Comparative Perspective. Amsterdam/Ottawa: IMES/Metropolis.


Further reading:

Alba, R. & V. Nee (2003) Remaking the American Mainstream. Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Mollenkopf, J. et al. (2000) Assimilating Immigrants in Amsterdam: A Perspective from New York; Editorial; Critical Comments; Rejoinder. Netherlands Journal of Social Sciences, 36 (2), pp 117-172.



Annemarie Bodaar (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Concentration and dispersion, the formation of enclaves and ghettos, and the development of ethnic identities

This class explores the dynamics of concentration and dispersal of immigrants in industrial and post-industrial cities in Europe and North America, as well as the relationship of this spatial pattern on the development of ethnic identity. It will provide intimate knowledge of the dynamics of international migration and immigrant integration by providing students an overview of the theories and concepts used in the field.


Required reading:

  • Li, W. (1998) 'Anatomy of a new ethnic settlement. The Chinese Ethnoburb in Los Angeles', Urban Studies, 35 (3), pp. 479-501.
  • Peach, C. (2003) ‘The ghetto and the ethnic enclave’, pp. 99-122 in J. Doomernik & H. Knippenberg (Eds), Immigration and Immigrants. Between Policy and Reality. Amsterdam: Askant Academic Publishers.
  • Zelinsky, W. & B.A. Lee (1998) 'Heterolocalism. An alternative model of the sociospatial behaviour of immigrant ethnic communities', International Journal of Population Geography, 4, pp. 281-298.


Further reading:

  • Castells, M. (2000) 'European Cities, the Informational Society, and the Global Economy', pp. 1-18 in L. Deben, W. Heinemeijer & D. van der Vaart (Eds.), Understanding Amsterdam. Essays on Economic Vitality, City Life and Urban Form. Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis.
  • Wood, J. (1997) 'Vietnamese American Place Making in Northern Virginia', Geographical Review, 87 (1).



Jan Rath, Annemarie Bodaar (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Manifestations of ethnic diversity in public space

This class examines the transformation of ethnic neighborhoods into places of leisure and consumption, and deals with the question of how and under what conditions this process helps foster immigrants’ business success and the quality of the neighborhood at large. The primary focus of this class is the role of immigrant entrepreneurs and their interaction with other relevant actors, especially the local government. The aim is to provide students with a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of theory and practice regarding manifestations of ethnic diversity in urban public space.


Required reading:

Pang, C.L. &. J. Rath (forthcoming) ‘The Force of Regulation in the Land of the Free: The Persistence of Chinatown, Washington D.C. as a Symbolic Ethnic Enclave’, in M. Ruef (Ed.), The Sociology of Entrepreneurship. Greenwich, Conn: JAI Press.

Ruddick, S.M. (1996) ‘Constructing Difference in Public Spaces: Race, Class, and Gender as Interlocking Systems’, Urban Geography, 17, 132-151.

Shaw, S., S. Bagwell & J. Karmowska (2004) ‘Ethnoscapes as spectacle. Reimaging multicultural districts as new destinations for leisure and tourism consumption’, Urban Studies, 41 (10), September, pp. 1983-2000.

Further reading:

Anderson, K.J. (1990). ‘“Chinatown re-oriented”. A critical analysis of recent redevelopment schemes in a Melbourne and Sydney enclave’, Australian Geographical Studies, 28, pp. 131-154.

Zukin, S. et al. (1998) ‘From Coney Island to Las Vegas in the Urban Imaginary. Discursive Practices of Growth and Decline, Urban Affairs Review, 33 (5), pp. 627-654.



Ilse van Liempt (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Ethnic Diversity and Urban Parks


In this class we will explore the impact of immigration on urban public space.  Next to understanding the dynamics of differences in leisure behavior we will also touch upon inter-ethnic

relations as well as racial discrimination in urban settings such as parks. Additionally we will discuss the challenges policy makers are faced with when designing leisure spaces

for ethnically diverse group of users.

Required readings:

- Gobster Paul H. (2002), "Managing Urban Parks fo a Racially and Ethnically DIverse Clientel", Leisure Sciences, Vol. 34, pp. 143-159.

- Lofland. L (1989), The Morality of Urban Public Life: The Emergence and Continuation of a Debate,, Places: Vol. 6: No. 1

- Stodolska, M & Jouyeon, Yi (2003), Impact of immigration on ethnic identity and leisure behavior on adolescent immigrants from Korea,

Mexico and Poland. Journal of Leisure Research, 2003, 1st Quarter, Vol. 35 Issue 1, pp. 49- 79




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