Superdiversity has become a popular term to depict the societal impact of migration in Europe, but does its heuristic value justify its popularity? The term superdiversity seems to be important to many scholars, but is it relevant to the lived experiences and applicable to the reality of migrants and non-migrants in societal institutions like education? This article aims to assess this heuristic value by applying superdiversity's connotations to findings of 125 interviews with students and teachers of a Dutch university of applied sciences. The two different configurations of diversity found, i.e. commonplace diversity and essentialist diversity, question superdiversity's heuristic value. First, students do not experience diversity as something exciting or 'super' or positive, as superdiversity authors suggest. Their main concerns, i.e. to enjoy education and to construct their identities in line with institutional demands, are not covered by the notion of superdiversity. Second, key descriptive meanings associated with superdiversity do not make sense to these configurations of diversity, i.e. discarding the ethno-focal lens and expectations of more or new and multilayered complexity. Findings point to conviviality, creolization, ethnic boundaries and groupism, not to superdiversity.
- Commonplace diversity
- ethnic boundaries