ABSTRACT

This article argues that the idea of multicultural tools is the best way to approach the understanding of conviviality. This argument is made through two discrete steps. The first offers a critical review of how issues of urban life and diversity have been theorised focusing on recent debates about ‘culture loss’ and ‘super-diversity’. The discussion, we suggest, elides historical and present racism, in the making of urban diversity in cities like London. The second step develops the notion of conviviality by identifying the ways in which young adult migrants living in London make convivial worlds emphasising the idea of tools, returning to Ivan Illich’s early formulation, and the capability to make multiculture. The article’s conclusion is that understanding urban multiculture requires equal weight being given to the paradoxical co-existence of both racism and conviviality in city life.