|About the Book|
This project examines the discourse of diversity underwriting the organization of social life in Lewiston, Maine---a community with increased racial and cultural heterogeneity resulting from the settlement of Somali immigrants. This research finds that the discourse of diversity determined the manner in which Somalis in Lewiston defined and expressed their cultural distinctiveness. The discourse of diversity also acted as a tool wielded by Somali and non-Somali community residents, city officials, and diversity professionals engaged in struggles for recognition, position, and inclusion.-More specifically, in Chapter Two, this work examines the manner in which on-the-record talk in Lewiston adhered to the themes demanded by the discourse of diversity: casting Somali newcomers as in possession of a sacred and sought-after diversity that enriches the lives of all in the community- and attributing diversity troubles to well-intentioned inexperience or the asocial and uncivil behavior of outsiders. Such diversity talk elicited particular responses to community needs and tensions. Chapter Three considers how Somalis asserted their place in Lewiston as familiar strangers and, in so doing, were required to erect and enact an incomplete and sanitized Somali-ness. Chapter Four follows events in Lewiston into the world of diversity education programs. Diversity training sessions performed a dual subjection: that of the trainees to the requirements of the discourse of diversity- and that of the multiple possible understandings of intercultural and intergroup dynamics to the assumed truth of multiculturalism.-This research argues that the standardized extra-local approach to talking about and managing diversity that emerged in Lewiston, the coercive demands placed upon Somali newcomers, and the manner in which diversity trainees disciplined their speech and their perspective to the discourse of diversity elucidate the limits of contemporary multicultural inclusion.