Center for the Study of Superdiversity


We focus on interdisciplinary and collective research efforts, in an attempt to explore the limits of current disciplinary frameworks. We focus on a broad range of research topics and areas, covering issues that occur at the strictly local level as well as on the global level, and creating a sound basis for comparative work and theoretical generalization, and we do so by means of paradigmatic orientations towards super-diversity, complexity and mediation, with an immediate contact with partners in the field.

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Babylon's research program 2018-2020

Superdiversity online and offline

Social life in the 21st century is increasingly led in online as well as offline contexts, with intersections between both structuring everyday activities as well as institutional ones. In the domain of social, cultural and linguistic diversity, the online world has become a dense new layer of diversification complicating both the phenomena on the ground as well as public debates about them and existing social-theoretical approaches to them.

Babylon puts the online-offline nexus central in its engagement with diversity in society and will focus over the next couple of years on several key issues in research.

  1. The precise nature of new forms of social interaction in the online-offline world, with special attention to new forms of multilingual and multimodal practice.
  2. The effects of online-offline social life on identities, both individual and collective.
  3. The emergence and formation of new communities in the online-offline world.
  4. The importance of learning practices and knowledge distribution in the formation of identities and communities.
  5. The development of security as a key institutional format structuring the online-offline world.
  6. The tensions and overlaps between moral orders and worldviews articulated in online-offline social practices.
  7. The social-theoretical implications of all this, and the adequacy or inadequacy of existing theoretical and methodological frameworks for addressing the new forms of social life we observe.

Babylon will address these research issues in continued collaboration and dialogue with the partners in the INCOLAS consortium, with a number of new partners, and with the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity.

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