Steven Vertovec How Can We Best Respond to the Challenges Presented by Super-Diversity?

Steven Vertovec is Director of the Max-Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and Honorary Joint Professor of Sociology and Ethnology at the University of Göttingen. He is also a Supernumerary Fellow at Linacre College, Oxford. His previous positions include Professor of Transnational Anthropology at the University of Oxford (2002-07) and directorships at the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (1997-2007). Vertovec’s research foci include globalization and the transnational along with international migration and ethnic diasporas. Co-Founder and Co-Editor of the journal Global Networks, Vertovec has provided consultancy expertise to organizations including the British Council, the European Commission, and the World Bank.

Area of Research

Migration, Super-Diversity

since 2007


Max Planck Society (more details)

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

since 2008

Honorary Joint Professor of Sociology and Ethnology

University of Göttingen (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)


Co - Director

University of Oxford

Institute for International Migration (IMI), James Martin 21st Century School



University of Oxford

COMPAS - Centre on Migration, Policy and Society


Professor of Transnational Anthropology & University Lecturer in Social Anthropology

University of Oxford



Economic & Social Research Council (UK) - ESRC

Research Programme on Transnational Communities


D.Phil. (Social Anthropology)

University of Oxford

Nuttfield College


M.A. (Religious Studies)

University of California, Santa Barbara


B.A. (Anthropology and Religious Studies)

University of Colorado Boulder

- Member, Editorial Board, Migration and Society (2017 - present)

- Series Editor, Book Series on ‘Global Diversities’, Palgrave - Macmillan Publishers (2014 - present)

- Member, Advisory Board, Cultural Diversity in China (2014 - present)

- Member, Editorial Board, Palgrave Communications (2013 - present)

- and many more

- Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development, World Bank (2013 - present)

- Advisory Board, Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, University of Amsterdam (2009 - present)

- Sachverständigenrat deutscher Stiftungen für Migration und Integration [Expert Council of German Foundations on Migration and Integration] (2008 - 2011)

- Steering Committee, Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Programme on Diasporas, Migration and Identities (2005 - 2010)

- Advisory Board, Economic and Social Research Council Research Programme on Identities and Social Action (2004 - 2010)

- Academic Forum, Runnymede Trust (2006 - 2009)

- Executive Board, European Commission Sixth Framework Programme ‘Network of Excellence’: International Migration, Integration and Social Cohension in Europe’ (IMISCOE); Leader of IMISCOE research cluster on Cultural, Religious and Linguistic

- Academic Advisory Group, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (2003 - 2007)

- Strategic Advisory Board, Danish Nation al Institute of Social Research (2003 - 2007)

- Advisory Board, Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism, University of Surrey (2003 - 2007)


- Doctor Honoris causa (Social Sciences), Université de Liège, 2018

- Associate Fellowship, Lichtenberg - Kolleg/Institute of Advanced Study, Göttingen, 2013

- ESRC - SSRC Visiting Fellowship, 2006 - 2007

- Research Fellowship, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin/Institute of Advanced Study, Berlin, 2002 - 2003

- Research Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt - Stiftung, Germany 1993 - 1994

- Volkswagen Foundation 2015 - 2016 , 2016 - 2018

- ESRC/AHRC/CNRS/French Ministry of Education (with Patrick Simon), 2007 European Research Council 2011 - 2015

- European Research Council (ERC) – Advanced Investigator Grant 2011 - 2015

- Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), 2003 - 2007

- etc.

© Maximilian Dörrbecker

Max Planck Society

"The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field." (Source)


Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

"This Max Planck Institute is primarily concerned with research into various forms of diversity. In today’s societies, people of varying ethnic and religious backgrounds often live side by side. The spectrum ranges from peaceful multiculturalism to bloody conflict – but when does the one occur and when the other? Through wide-ranging empirical studies and by developing theoretical concepts, the Göttingen-based Institute seeks to broaden our understanding of these issues of human coexistence. The main focus of this work is on basic research, but in some instances it extends as far as advising on political policy." (Source)


More people from more places are migrating to more places, leading to greater linguistic, religious and ethnic diversity, especially in urban areas. In this video, STEVEN VERTOVEC analyzes this super-diversification and considers how societies can best respond to the challenges it presents. With sources ranging from U.N. and World Bank migration data to more ethnographic, everyday research, Vertovec observes that people’s concerns about migration are exacerbated by their tendency to wildly overestimate its scale. Urging stakeholders to consider the key role that social media has come to play in defining attitudes towards diversification, Vertovec also highlights the scientifically proven benefits that result from real, positive interactions between people from different backgrounds.

LT Video Publication DOI:

Talking Around Super-Diversity

  • Steven Vertovec
  • Ethnic and Racial Studies
  • Published in 2017
Steven Vertovec. "Talking Around Super-Diversity." Ethnic and Racial Studies 42 (2017): 125–139. doi:10.1080/01419870.2017.1406128.