1893 French sociologist Émile Durkheim (1858-1917) first used the term ‘cohésion sociale’ in his 1893 publication entitled De la division du travail social (1893:133) [1](later published in English as The Division of Labour in Society). He built on and critiqued 19th century theories of progress, evolution and Darwinism (Spencer, van Gierke) from a sociological point of view. Using the same metaphors employed by Herbert Spencer or Otto von Gierke of biological organisms versus complex machines, Durkheim argued that traditional societies, such as subsistence farming communities, were more mechanical than organic since members were more homogenous, sharing a common heritage and values, well-regulated social norms and social behaviours and a collective consciousness that subsumed individual consciousness. In contrast modern societies, where there is a complex division of labour promotes an organic unity resembling complex living organisms that promote social cohesion. He argued that, “la division du travail [est] une source de cohésion sociale. Elle ne rend pas seulement les individus solidaires, comme nous l’avons dit jusqu’ici, parce qu’elle limite l’activité de chacun, mais encore parce qu’elle l’augmente. Elle accroît l’unité de l’organisme, par cela seul qu’elle en accroît la vie; du moins, à l’état normal, elle ne produit pas un de ces effets sans l’autre (1893:133).”

1916 The concept of social capital was first used in the context of education to explain the importance of community involvement for successful schools (L. J. Hanifan 1916). During the 20th century the concept of social capital has changed according to the prevailing ideological climate. Social capital then can be seen as a tool for public policy through which social cohesion might be acheived. See (Cheong et al. 2007). In a sense Hanifan (1916) was describing how social cohesion was acheived through accumulation of social capital: “those tangible substances [that] count for most in the daily lives of people: namely good will, fellowship, sympathy, and social intercourse among the individuals and families who make up a social unit….The individual is helpless socially, if left to himself….If he comes into contact with his neighbor, and they with other neighbors, there will be an accumulation of social capital, which may immediately satisfy his social needs and which may bear a social potentiality sufficient to the substantial improvement of living conditions in the whole community. The community as a whole will benefit by the coöperation of all its parts, while the individual will find in his associations the advantages of the help, the sympathy, and the fellowship of his neighbors (L. J. Hanifan 1916 cited in Putnam 2000).”

1948 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations in 1948 in order to strengthen the protection of human rights at international level.

1949-05-05 Treaty of London, establishing the Council of Europe, signed by ten states: Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The Council of Europe was founded in 1949. It “seeks to develop throughout Europe common and democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other reference texts on the protection of individuals.” (dates >> COE)

1950-11-04 Signature in Rome of the Council’s Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms – the first international legal instrument safeguarding human rights. (dates >> COE)

1954-12-19 Signature of the European Cultural Convention, forming the framework for the Council’s work in education, culture, youth and sport. (dates >> COE)

1956-04-16 Creation of the resettlement Fund (which is now the Council of Europe Development Bank), intended to help member States finance social projects. (dates >> COE)

1957-01-12 The Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (now the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe) set up by the Council of Europe, to bring together local and regional authority representatives. (dates >> COE)

1959-09-18 The European Court of Human Rights established by the Council in Strasbourg, under the European Convention on Human Rights, to ensure observance of the obligations undertaken by contracting states. (dates >> COE) (dates >> COE)

1961-10-18 The Council’s European Social Charter signed in Turin as the economic and social counterpart of the European Convention on Human Rights. (dates >> COE)

1962 E Rogers, E. published Diffusion of Innovations

1961 Urbanist and activist Jane Jacobs (1916-) used the term social capital in reference to the value of networks (1961, 1969). Some trace the modern usage of the term social capital to her writings of the 1960s which took in the wider issues of economics and social relations. While working for the Architectural Forum (1952-), Jacobs observed how the magazine editors believed in urban renewal and considered Yale alumni Ed Logue, an Ivy League establishment guru, to be a hero of the modernist urban renewal campaigns. Jacobs claimed Logue inadvertently destroyed both New Haven and much of central Boston to the detriment of older neighbourhoods rich in social capital. Jacobs lived in Boston in 1972 and remembered the North End as a vibrant Italian blue collar neighborhood, very insular, but tremendously active—full of all the pork stores, the cheese stores and the cookie stores. Jacobs seized the imagination of an otherwise extremely complacent era in her seminal book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) a stark criticism of the experiment of Modernist urbanism. She urged Americans to look to the traditional wisdom of the vernacular city with its vibrant neighbourhoods and streets as it fundamental units. See (Jacobs, Kunster 2001).

1972-06-01 The Council’s first European Youth Centre is opened in Strasbourg (France). (dates >> COE)

1980-03-27 The Pompidou Group established by the Council as a multi-disciplinary forum for inter-ministerial co-operation against drug abuse and trafficking. (dates >> COE)

1988 James Coleman used the term social capital which loosely refers to social networks that depend on reciprocity and mutual trust.

1989-06-08 Special guest status introduced by the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly, to forge closer links with the parliaments of new member states moving towards democracy. (dates >> COE)

1990-04-30 The Council’s North/South Centre opened in Lisbon (Portugal). (dates >> COE)

1990-05-10 The European Commission for Democracy through Law (the “Venice Commission”) established by the Council to deal with legal guarantees on democracy. (dates >> COE)

1990-11-06 Accession of the first State from the former Soviet Block: Hungary. (dates >> COE)

1993 Robert Putnam (1993, 1995, 2000) further developed the concept of social capital.

1993-10-08 First Council of Europe summit of heads of state and government in Vienna (Austria) adopts a declaration confirming its pan-European vocation and setting new political priorities in protecting national minorities and combating all forms of racism, xenophobia and intolerance. (dates >> COE)

1993-08 Michael M Cernea, Sociologist and Senior Adviser, World Bank, Washington, DC, USA: ‘Sociological Work Within a Development Agency – Experiences in the World Bank‘, August 1993.

1994-01-17 The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) set up by the Council’s Committee of Ministers to replace the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe. (dates >> COE)

1995 Ignacy Sachs, ‘Searching for New Development Strategies: The Challenge of the Social Summit’, Policy Paper no 1 (Paris: UNESCO, 1995).

1996 Judith Maxwell presented a paper entitled “Social Dimensions of Economic Growth” as part of the Eric John Hanson Memorial Lecture Series at the University of Alberta in which she defined social cohesion as . . .

1997-10-10 Second Council of Europe summit of heads of state and government, in Strasbourg (France). (dates >> COE)

1998 Jane Jenson published “Mapping Social Cohesion: The State of Canadian Research” as part of the Canadian Policy Research Networks, Ottawa.

1998-11-01 Single permanent European Court of Human Rights was established in Strasbourg under Protocol No. 11 to the Council’s European Convention on Human Rights, replacing the existing system. This is the only truly judicial organ established by the European Convention on Human Rights. It is composed of composed of one Judge for each State party to the Convention and ensures, in the last instance, that contracting states observe their obligations under the Convention. Since November 1998, the Court has operated on a full-time basis.” (dates >> COE)

1999 “At the Berlin European Council in March 1999, the Heads of State and Government reached agreement on Agenda 2000, an action plan put forward by the Commission principally to strengthen the Community’s policies and provide the Union with a new financial framework for 2000-06 in preparation for enlargement. In this context, Agenda 2000 also included the reform of the Structural Funds. Consequently, the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund now have a new legal framework, which should remain in place until 2006 (NSA UK 2003).”

2000 Robert D. Putnam published his highly influential book entitled Bowling Alone: the Collapse and Revival of American Community. Putnam described how Americans had “become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and democratic structures– and how we may reconnect. Putnam warns that our stock of social capital – the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities. Putnam draws on evidence including nearly 500,000 interviews over the last quarter century to show that we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often. We’re even bowling alone. More Americans are bowling than ever before, but they are not bowling in leagues. Putnam shows how changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, television, computers, women’s roles and other factors have contributed to this decline (http://www.bowlingalone.com/).” Putnam was invited to the White House by President Bill Clinton in xxxx to discuss his research and its implications. (Social capital is a term developed by Pierre Bourdieu?)

2001-03-13 (I believe this is the first time the Directorate Generale published an article using the term social cohesion MFB 2008-03-11.) The Directorate General on Social Cohesion published its second issue of the electronic newsletter ” Social cohesion : developments ”. Children are the main theme of this issue. There is an article about the Final Conference of the Programme for Children that took place in Nicosia in November 2000. It also presents some NGOs that participated in the Forum for Children. Moreover, this newsletter introduces the new strategy for the protection of children in Romania and presents some of the main issues of the international conference on child labour exploitation. “‘Social Cohesion: Developments’ Newsletter: hits the newstands.” http://www.social.coe.int/en/cohesion/strategy/devunit.htm

2001-12 Building Cohesive Communities: A Report of the Ministerial Group on Public Order and Community Cohesion UK. discussed social cohesion.

2001-12 Community Cohesion: A Report of the Independent Review Team UK Chaired by Ted Cantle, December 2001 discussed social cohesion.

2003 The Community Services Council Newfoundland and Labrador published their “Glossary of Terms for the Voluntary Sector.” which included a definition of social cohesion.

2003-01-03 Jean Cassidy compiled a glossary of terms used in discussing poverty and social exclusion for a non-specialist audience entitled “Combat Poverty Agency – Glossary of Poverty and Social Inclusion Terms” for the Combat Poverty Agency. She included Social cohesion: Bringing together, in an integrated way, economic, social, health and educational policies to facilitate the participation of citizens in societal life.; Social exclusion: The process whereby certain groups are pushed to the margins of society and prevented from participating fully by virtue of their poverty, low education or inadequate lifeskills. This distances them from job, income and education opportunities as well as social and community networks. They have little access to power and decision-making bodies and little chance of influencing decisions or policies that affect them, and little chance of bettering their standard of living; Social inclusion:Ensuring the marginalised and those living in poverty have greater participation in decision making which affects their lives, allowing them to improve their living standards and their overall well-being; Social Inclusion Units: Structures developed or being developed by local authorities which have a dedicated emphasis on tackling social exclusion. These Units seek to extend key elements of the National Anti-Poverty Strategy (NAPS) to local level and to promote social inclusion as a key priority within local government.” The site was modified on 2003-12-01.

2003-01 NSA of UK. 2003. “Social Cohesion – Prospect and Promise.” A statement by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom.

2004-06-24 “Jean-Louis Borloo, Ministre de l’emploi, de la cohésion sociale et du logement présentait en conseil des ministres le Plan de cohésion sociale, comportant 20 programmes et 107 mesures destinés à agir simultanément sur trois leviers : l’emploi, le logement et l’égalité des chances.” “Il n’y aura pas de croissance durable sans cohésion sociale.” more: http://www.travail-solidarite.gouv.fr/espaces/social/grands-dossiers/plan-cohesion-sociale/20-programmes-107-mesures-pour-cohesion-sociale-7255.html

2005-05-16 Third Council of Europe summit of heads of state and government, in Warsaw (Poland). (dates >> COE) “The current Council of Europe‘s political mandate was defined by the third Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Warsaw in May 2005. It “seeks to develop throughout Europe common and democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other reference texts on the protection of individuals.” (dates >> COE)

2005 “Recent applications of social capital theories to population health often draw on classic sociological theories for validation of the protective features of social cohesion and social integration. Durkheim’s work on suicide has been cited as evidence that modern life disrupts social cohesion and results in a greater risk of morbidity and mortality—including self-destructive behaviors and suicide. We argue that a close reading of Durkheim’s evidence supports the opposite conclusion and that the incidence of self-destructive behaviors such as suicide is often greatest among those with high levels of social integration. A reexamination of Durkheim’s data on female suicide and suicide in the military suggests that we should be skeptical about recent studies connecting improved population health to social capital (Kushner and Sterk 2005).”

2006-12-06. Ferroni, Marco. 2006. “Social Capital and Social Cohesion: Definition and Measurement.” Medicion de la Calidad de Vida. (IDB) Sustainable Development Department. Inter-American Development Bank. Washington DC. Taller de Consulta sobre. December 8. PowerPoint Presentation. .

2007 “In recent years, there has been an intense public and policy debate about ethnic diversity, community cohesion, and immigration in Britain and other societies worldwide. In addition, there has been a growing preoccupation with the possible dangers to social cohesion represented by growing immigration flows and ethnic diversity. This paper proposes a critical framework for assessing the links between immigration, social cohesion, and social capital. It argues that the concept of social capital is episodic, socially constructed and value-based, depending on the prevailing ideological climate. Considerations of social capital as a public policy tool to achieve social cohesion need to incorporate an appreciation of alternative conceptions of social capital rooted in a textured under-standing of immigrant processes and migration contexts (Cheong et al. 2007).”

2008-08-29 The theme of the 32nd annual conference of the Association for Baha’i Studies is Religion and Social Cohesion.” The past decade has witnessed a resurgence of interest in the role that religion can play as a source of social conflict, on the one hand, and a force of social cohesion on the other. The roots of the term religion – a force of social cohesion. In this regard, religion continues to play a primary role in identity formation even as it reaches to the deepest wells of human commitment and motivation. The Bahá’í Faith, while acknowledging abuses and corruptions of the religious impulse, “declares the purpose of religion to be the promotion of amity and concord, proclaims its essential harmony with science, and recognizes it as the foremost agency for the pacification and the orderly progress of human society. Recent expressions of religious intolerance, conflict and violence have caused leaders of thought, policy makers, and academics to ponder if, or how, religion can play a more constructive role in processes of social integration. How can this force that binds people together, shapes human identities, and reaches to the depths of human motivation, be aligned with the construction of a peaceful, just, and sustainable social order in an age of increasing interdependence among the world’s diverse peoples? These are themes that will be explored at the 32nd annual conference of the North American Association for Bahá’í Studies. New and experienced presenters and participants, from all backgrounds and disciplines, are welcome. Possible topics for presentation might include, but are not limited to: the role of the global plans of the Bahá’í community in promoting social cohesion; implications of a Bahá’í culture of learning for processes of social integration; the critique of religion articulated within the “new atheist” discourse of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and others; social cohesion, public policy, and effective governance; processes of social integration and disintegration; the religious construction of social reality; the psychology of human motivation and identity formation; religion in social development; the forces of attraction and the science of cohesion; and the sources of, and solutions to, religious conflict (source ?).”

One Response to “Timeline of Social Events Related to Social Cohesion”

  1. Joan Driscoll Says:

    Thank you. Your timeline is a very valuable instrument to quickly learn & fill in gaps.

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