chapter  17
Ethico-politics of diversity and its production
WithPasi Ahonen, Janne Tienari
Pages 17

Diversity emerged as a concept in the United States in the 1980s to provide a means of discussing what seemed like ever increasing dimensions of difference in society, from race and gender to age to sexual orientation and beyond (Cox and Blake, 1991; Johnston and Packer, 1987). Social inequities identified by the civil rights, feminist and gay rights movements in the preceding decades were being addressed – at least to an extent – and there was an apparent need to move from emphasizing social divisions to the positive aspects of difference (Benschop, 2011; Kelly and Dobbin, 1998). The notion of diversity was borrowed from biology to do the task (Litvin, 1997). Thirty years on, a domain of diversity knowledge has developed that not only encompasses relevant differentiating ‘factors’ at both societal and personal level but also seems to render these differences governable and manageable through various mechanisms and techniques.