Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

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The European Ideal of an Inclusive City: Interculturalism and “Good Social Practices” in Barcelona

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Abstract:  Within the contemporary debate about what could be broadly called the “challenge of inclusion,” three major interrelated trends can be identified: First, a growing dissatisfaction with the traditional approach known as multiculturalism, which in Europe led to the emergence of interculturalism as a new approach to managing cultural diversity; second, the shared acknowledgment that the concept of diversity must be reconsidered in terms of super‐diversity and properly understood through an intersectional lens; third, the emergence of cities as pivotal new players in a multi‐level framework. Notwithstanding the growing interest in the topic of inclusion, the theoretical level is still limited by strong barriers among different disciplines, and the practices of promotion of social inclusion often result in a few specific projects characterized by an episodic nature and, consequently, by very limited impact in the middle‐ to long‐term. This article critically analyzes how Barcelona is re‐conceptualizing and developing its understanding of interculturalism as the basis for building its self‐image as a European model of an inclusive city. After a brief overview of the formulation of interculturalism as a contemporary approach to managing diversity at the city level, I analyze the development and implementation of interculturalism in Barcelona. Finally, by focusing on some initiatives selected in the project Bones Pràctiques Socials, I critically discuss some of the main opportunities and challenges for the promotion of social inclusion stemming from the cooperation between municipal institutions and social actors in Barcelona.

Keywords:  city governance; cultural diversity; European ideal; inclusive city; interculturalism; social inclusion



© Beniamino Peruzzi Castellani. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.