Research Topic

Health and Wellbeing of Migrants in an Era of Superdiversity: The Role of Informal Health Care Sites and Providers

About this Research Topic

Internationally, more migrants are arriving from more places, to more places, than ever before, in a phenomenon described as “superdiversity,” that Bradby describes as “complex interlinking variables that differentiate rights and privileges as migrants, citizens, and workers.” Further, the term can also be understood to be a theoretical tool that allows us to describe (and interpret) our ever-evolving globalized social reality by accentuating the enormous amount of diversity that exists within different groups in societies around the world.

Although the concept is relatively new in health, illness, and healthcare research, it has been used within the field of medical sociology as a way to capture and describe increased levels of diversity both between and within groups; it has been debated whether it should replace ethnicity or migrant background as key factors that shape the experiences of healthcare providers and users. Its proponents argue that superdiversity helps us to recognise the role of power, politics, and policy that provides the backdrop to health service provision particularly in cosmopolitan urban settings. Superdiversity potentially facilitates the capture and analysis of new patterns of complex diversity that result from both intra- and international migration. In this Research Topic, we seek to reflect and advance the current debate of how the concept/ theoretical tool of superdiversity can be used to understand power inequalities, prejudice, and heterogeneity within single locations founded on increased “speed, spread, and scale” of diversity, or how it could be critically interrogated. We seek to contextualise this by exploring the ways in which superdiverse populations use informal healthcare.

Healthcare choices and interactions are often made without the involvement of a statutory healthcare professional. They take place in what Kleinman describes as the ‘popular’ and ‘folk’ sector (amongst family and friends and utilising social networks or traditional healers). We welcome contributions exploring the complexity of health seeking by superdiverse populations as they may access resources ‘back home’ and in the country of migration, e.g., in health food shops, international delis and with traditional practitioners). We also welcome contributors to explore how people in the voluntary sector, non-government organisations or citizen associations who are not in themselves healthcare providers might be part of this picture, for example as cultural brokers and navigators to the statutory care system.

We welcome explorations of the perspective of provider and users (or both), from a range of disciplines (e.g., social and political science, anthropology, applied health research, sociolinguistics). Manuscripts should be focused on generating new knowledge and potential to inform practice. We also welcome manuscripts that critique the methodological strengths, weaknesses, and added value of using superdiversity as a theoretical tool for interpretation.


Keywords: superdiversity, Europe, migration, informal care, cultural brokerage


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Internationally, more migrants are arriving from more places, to more places, than ever before, in a phenomenon described as “superdiversity,” that Bradby describes as “complex interlinking variables that differentiate rights and privileges as migrants, citizens, and workers.” Further, the term can also be understood to be a theoretical tool that allows us to describe (and interpret) our ever-evolving globalized social reality by accentuating the enormous amount of diversity that exists within different groups in societies around the world.

Although the concept is relatively new in health, illness, and healthcare research, it has been used within the field of medical sociology as a way to capture and describe increased levels of diversity both between and within groups; it has been debated whether it should replace ethnicity or migrant background as key factors that shape the experiences of healthcare providers and users. Its proponents argue that superdiversity helps us to recognise the role of power, politics, and policy that provides the backdrop to health service provision particularly in cosmopolitan urban settings. Superdiversity potentially facilitates the capture and analysis of new patterns of complex diversity that result from both intra- and international migration. In this Research Topic, we seek to reflect and advance the current debate of how the concept/ theoretical tool of superdiversity can be used to understand power inequalities, prejudice, and heterogeneity within single locations founded on increased “speed, spread, and scale” of diversity, or how it could be critically interrogated. We seek to contextualise this by exploring the ways in which superdiverse populations use informal healthcare.

Healthcare choices and interactions are often made without the involvement of a statutory healthcare professional. They take place in what Kleinman describes as the ‘popular’ and ‘folk’ sector (amongst family and friends and utilising social networks or traditional healers). We welcome contributions exploring the complexity of health seeking by superdiverse populations as they may access resources ‘back home’ and in the country of migration, e.g., in health food shops, international delis and with traditional practitioners). We also welcome contributors to explore how people in the voluntary sector, non-government organisations or citizen associations who are not in themselves healthcare providers might be part of this picture, for example as cultural brokers and navigators to the statutory care system.

We welcome explorations of the perspective of provider and users (or both), from a range of disciplines (e.g., social and political science, anthropology, applied health research, sociolinguistics). Manuscripts should be focused on generating new knowledge and potential to inform practice. We also welcome manuscripts that critique the methodological strengths, weaknesses, and added value of using superdiversity as a theoretical tool for interpretation.


Keywords: superdiversity, Europe, migration, informal care, cultural brokerage


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

22 December 2017 Abstract
29 June 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

22 December 2017 Abstract
29 June 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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