CFP: Multiculturalism in the Workplace – an International Symposium (21-22 January 2016, Singapore)


Workplaces are key sites for everyday encounters with and negotiations over cultural difference, and as situations of ‘enforced contact’ they represent an ideal setting to explore the quality and dynamics of intercultural relationships. In particular, workplaces are now the site for global interactions and connections due to the presence of highly skilled and low skilled temporary migrants working side-by-side locals. Many people spend a considerable part of their lives at work where not only working relationships develop, but social ones as well. It is at work where many have the only opportunity to interact with those different from them on a regular basis. These are prosaic places of enforced encounter –where ethnic and racial differences are confronted and negotiated on an everyday basis. Yet the workplace is a special kind of micro-public, where the rules and codes of contemporary working cultures interplay with collegial and hierarchical relationships which in turn mediate inter-ethnic relationships. In addition to workplace cultures, and structural changes to work, media cultures and wider national discourses on migrants and ethnic groups also resonate through situated encounters with and meanings made of difference. While the importance of the workplace as providing a sense of identity, community, camaraderie, and a focus for community and social life has been well documented in literature on the sociology of work, remarkably, very little research has considered the relationship between these workplace changes and intercultural relationships in the workplace.

We invite papers that explore multicultural relations at the workplace and address one or more of the following themes:

  • Production and practices of sociality at work
  • Gendered workplace social relations
  • Religion and workplace sociality
  • Conviviality and cross-cultural friendship
  • Workplace and racial discrimination
  • Inter-cultural exchange and transformation
  • Workplace changes and intercultural relationships
  • Highly skilled and low skilled migrant workers and the workplace

Selected papers will be included in a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal.

Convenors: Selvaraj Velayutham (Macquarie University), Catherine Gomes (RMIT) .

Keynote/Plenary speakers:

 Prof. Francis Tanglao-Aguas (College of William and Mary)

A.Prof. Amanda Wise (Macquarie University)

A/Prof Daniel PS Goh (National University of Singapore)

Prof. Jonathan Tan (Case Western Reserve University)

Prof Susan Stethlik,( NYU)

Please send a title, abstract or overview of approximately 250 words, and bio  to

Abstracts due: 31 Oct 2015: Registration fee USD$100/-

Successful applicants will be notified by 15 Nov 2015