Shinya Uekusa is a disaster sociologist and a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Canterbury. Prior to joining the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Canterbury, he worked as a Research Officer in Health Psychology at Massey University in Aotearoa and an Assistant Professor in Global Studies at Aarhus University in Denmark. At Massey University, he worked on the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) funded project on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on older people in Aotearoa. He co-edited A Decade of Disaster Experience in Ōtautahi Christchurch: Critical Disaster Studies Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan/Springer Nature, 2022) with Steve Matthewman and Bruce Glavovic. His main research interests are in migration, health, the sociology of language, and disaster sociology, particularly focusing on how the socially disadvantaged groups such as (im)migrants, refugees and linguistic minorities experience and cope with cultural, economic, environmental, political and social challenges.
This short commentary is intended to open a further discussion on diversity in Denmark, particularly in response to the announcement made by the Minister of Interior and Housing, Kaare Dybvad Bek, in 2021 regarding Denmark’s plan to restrict the number of ‘non-Western/non-White’ residents in any neighbourhoods to avoid ‘parallel societies’. This news was not surprising yet still disturbing, especially considering the recent taxi law requiring taxi drivers to speak Danish, along with migration, ethnicity and education research communities being accused of ‘pseudo-scientific’ research. In order to move toward a forward-thinking, socially inclusive, multicultural, sustainable and just society, I comment not only on the recent (re)surge of racism and ‘resistance to diversity’ but also on higher education’s stand and social scientists’ role in addressing these issues in Denmark, wider Europe and beyond.