Nota di Lavoro, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei 56.2006
This paper shares the approach of social constructivism, and maintains that diversity should be examined not par excellence, as an entity in itself, but as reflected in peoples minds and expressed in their attitudes and perceptions. On the basis of an empirical Bulgarian-Finnish intercultural research the paper states that diversity is not essential, given and unproblematic. Rather, it undergoes constant evolution. What is considered now different can in future be seen as more or less similar. The informants characterized people with a religious, ethnic or racial background, other than theirs, as distant and different, while people belonging to groups with the same origin were designated as similar and close. This means that cultural diversity can also be translated into a social-psychological distance. Thus diversity is context-bound and cultural groups are always seen and appraised from the perspective of ones own particular cultural paradigm.