Social cohesion

October 1, 2008

Social cohesion

“Social cohesion indicators measure the extent to which citizens participate in societal activities, the level of crime in society, and the acceptance of diversity (Conference Board of Canada Society Overview 2008).”

“Performance in the Society category is assessed using 17 indicators across three dimensions: self-sufficiency, equity, and social cohesion. Self-sufficiency indicators measure the autonomy and active participation of individuals within society, including its most vulnerable citizens, such as persons with disabilities and youth. Equity indicators measure equity of access, opportunities, and outcomes.  (Conference Board of Canada Society Overview 2008).”

“More social cohesion has been posited to lead to “more” health; less social cohesion has been posited to lead to “less” health. As well, government performance may influence or be influenced by both social cohesion and health. After defining each of these constructs, we describe changes in measures of these constructs over time (between 1981 and 1990) in Canada, the individual-level factors that are associated with high levels of these measures in Canada, and how these levels compare with those in other G7 countries. We then develop a conceptual framework within which relationships between social cohesion and health can be considered and present the results of new empirical research regarding these relationships in G7 countries. Finally, we synthesize and critically appraise empirical research to inform discussions about the strength of some of these relationships, specifically those involving selected pathways through the determinants of health. We conclude that social cohesion can have significant health consequences (through, for example, known health determinants like income distribution, employment and working conditions, and social support) and that the concepts related to social cohesion don’t need reconciliation so much as they need links to the “right” policy environment (Lavis and Stoddart 1999).”

(Conference Board of Canada Society Overview 2008).”

Lavis, John N.; Stoddart, Greg. 1999. “Social Cohesion and Health”. August. Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Keywords: population health, social cohesion, health,

Webliography and Bibliography


Beauvais, Caroline, and Jane Jenson. 2002. “Social Cohesion: Updating the State of the Research.” CPRN Discussion Paper No. F/22. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Network.

Bernard, Paul. 1999. “Social Cohesion: A Critique.” Discussion Paper No. F-093. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Network.

Bessis, Sophie. 1995. “From social exclusion to social cohesion: towards a policy agenda.” Policy Paper – No. 2. Management of Social Transformations (MOST) – UNESCO. The Roskilde Symposium. University of Roskilde, Denmark. 2-4 March 1995

Blockland, Talja. 2000. “Unraveling three of a kind: Cohesion, Community and Solidarity.” The Netherlands’ Journal of Social Sciences 30(1), 56-70.

Broodryk, Johan. 2002. UBUNTU: Life Lessons from Africa. Pretoria: Ubuntu School of Philosophy.

“>Cantle, Ted et al. 2001. “Community Cohesion: A Report of the Independent Review Team.” United Kingdom. December.

Cassidy, Jean. 2003. “Combat Poverty Agency – Glossary of Poverty and Social Inclusion Terms“. Combat Poverty Agency. Conyngham Road. Islandbridge. Dublin, Ireland.

Cernea, Michael M. 1993. “Sociological Work Within a Development Agency – Experiences in the World Bank.” World Bank, Washington, DC, USA. August 1993.

Cheong, Pauline Hope; Edwards, Rosalind; Goulbourne, Harry; Solomos, John. 2007. “Immigration, social cohesion and social capital: A critical review.” Social Policy. 27:1:24-49.

Coleman, James. 1988. “Social capital and the creation of human capital.” American Journal of Sociology 94, S95-S120.

CSC. 2003. “A Glossary of Terms for the Voluntary Sector.” Community Services Council Newfoundland and Labrador. http://www.envision.ca/templates/profile.asp?ID=56

De Beer, Marlene. 2003. “A seventh moment bricoleurship and narrative turn to poetics in educational research.” Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Student Conference, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00003137.htm 2003-09-01.

Durkheim, Émile. 1893. De la division du travail social. Livre II et III. http://classiques.uqac.ca/classiques/Durkheim_emile/division_du_travail/division_travail_2.rtf

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.

GF. 2004. “d’insertion et lutte contre les exclusions.”Ministre du Travail, des Relations sociales et de la Solidarité . Government of France. http://www.travail-solidarite.gouv.fr/espaces/social/grands-dossiers/plan-cohesion-sociale/20-programmes-107-mesures-pour-cohesion-sociale-7255.html and http://www.social.gouv.fr/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=41

Kushner, Howard I.; Sterk, Claire E. 2005. “Critical Concepts for Reaching Populations at Risk: The Limits of Social Capital: Durkheim, Suicide, and Social Cohesion.” American Journal of Public Health. 95:7:1139-1143. http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/95/7/1139

Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1972. The savage mind. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

Jeannotte, Sharon. 2000. “Tango Romantica or Liaisons Dangereuses? Cultural Policies and Social Cohesion: Perspectives from Canadian Research.” Cultural Policy 7(1), 97-113.

Jeannotte, Sharon., Stanley, Dick., Pendakur, Ravi., Jamieson, Bruce., Williams, Maureen and Aizlewood, Amanda. 2002. “Buying in or Dropping Out: The Public Policy Implications of Social Cohesion Research.” SRA-631-e. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Network.

Jefferson, Thomas in correspondence to James Madison. ME 7:455, Papers 15:393.

Jenson, Jane. 1998. Mapping social cohesion: The state of Canadian research. Canadian Policy Research Networks Study No. F-03. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Network.

Jacobs, Jane. 1961 [1993] The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Modern Library. New York: Random House.

Jacobs, Jane; Kunstler, Jim. 2001. “Interview.” Metropolis Magazine. March 2001.

Jenson, Jane. 2002. “Identifying the Links: Social Cohesion and Culture in Making Connections: Culture and Social Cohesion in the New Millennium.” Canadian Journal of Communications 27(2, 3): url http://www.cjc-online.ca/title.php3?page=5&journal_id=43

Levinson, Sanford. Constitutional Faith. Princeton University Press, 1989, p. 60

at Risk: The Limits of Social Capital: Durkheim, Suicide, and Social Cohesion.” American Journal of Public Health. 95:7:1139-1143. http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/95/7/1139

Marquand, David. “that we live in a ‘tense, mistrustful, anxiety-haunted society’. ” See NSA 2003.

Maxwell, Judith. 1996. “Social Dimensions of Economic Growth.” Eric John Hanson Memorial Lecture Series, Volume VIII, University of Alberta.

Mehta, Michael D. 2002-11-27.Agricultural Biotechnology and Social Cohesion: Is the Social Fabric of Rural Communities at Risk?” Presented at the Canadian Weed Science Society meeting in Saskatoon, SK.

MGPOCC. 2001. “Building Cohesive Communities: A Report of the Ministerial Group on Public Order and Community Cohesion.”United Kingdom. December.

Mitchell, Ritva; Duxbury, Nancy. 2001. “Making Connections: Cultural and Social Cohesion in the New Millennium.” Canadian Journal of Communication. 26:4.

NSA. (National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom) 2003. “Social Cohesion – Prospect and Promise.” Statement. January.

Print, Murray & Coleman, David. 2003. “Towards Understanding of Social Capital and Citizenship Education.” Cambridge Journal of Education. 33(1), 123-149.

Putnam, Robert. 1993. Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions of Modern Italy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Putnam, Robert 1995. “Bowling Alone: America’s declines social capital.” Journal of Democracy 6(1):65-78.

Putnam, Robert D. 2000. Bowling Alone: the Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Rogers, E. 1962. Diffusion of Innovations. New York: Free Press of Glencoe.

Sachs, Ignacy. 1995. “Searching for New Development Strategies: The Challenge of the Social Summit.” Policy Paper no 1. Paris: UNESCO.

Stanley, Dick. 2002. “What Do We Know about Social Cohesion: The Research Perspective of the Federal Government’s Social Cohesion Research Network.” SRA-658. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Network.

Strauss, Leo. 1959. “What is Political Philosophy?” in What is Political Philosophy? and Other Studies. NewYork: The Free Press.

Swatos, William H. Jr. Ed. “Durkheim.” Encyclopedia of Religion and Social Science. Hartford Institute for Religion Research. Hartford, CT. http://hirr.hartsem.edu/ency/durkheim.htm

Williams, Maureen K. 2001. “Simpler Than You Think, More Complex Than You Imagine: Progress in Social Cohesion Research.” SRA-624. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Network.

Centre For Social Cohesion


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Social cohesion in diverse communities

Social Cohesion- Prospect and Promise



This theme is also being developed on the page entitled Key Concepts: Social Cohesion >> Speechless.

Creative Commons License 3.0

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2008. “What is Being Done in the Name of Social Cohesion?” >> Speechless. March 11. First Draft. Last modified November 2, 2008.

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) (Durkheim 1893:133)(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) [1].”

“C’est donc à tort qu’on a vu parfois dans la division du travail le fait fondamental de toute vie sociale. Le travail ne se partage pas entre individus indépendants et déjà différenciés qui se réunissent et s’associent pour mettre en commun leurs différentes aptitudes. Car ce serait un miracle que des différences, ainsi nées au hasard des circonstances, pussent se raccorder aussi exactement de manière à former un tout cohérent. Bien loin qu’elles précèdent la vie collective, elles en dérivent. Elles ne peuvent se produire qu’au sein d’une société et sous la pression de sentiments et de besoins sociaux ; c’est ce qui fait qu’elles sont essentiellement harmoniques. Il y a donc une vie sociale en dehors de toute division du travail, mais que celle-ci suppose. C’est, en effet, ce que nous avons directement établi en faisant voir qu’il y a des sociétés dont la cohésion est essentiellement due à la communauté des croyances et des sentiments, et que c’est de ces sociétés que sont sorties celles dont la division du travail assure l’unité. Les conclusions du livre précédent et celles auxquelles nous venons d’arriver peuvent donc servir à se contrôler et à se confirmer mutuellement. La division du travail physiologique est elle-même soumise à cette loi : elle n’apparaît jamais qu’au sein de masses polycellulaires qui sont déjà douées d’une certaine cohésion (Durkheim 1893).”

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.

1948 In a short radio interview under the title, “Planned Science,” (1998: 106-111 Ealy 2002) research chemist Michael Polanyi explained why true science was resistant to central planning by using the metaphor of polycellular organisms as did sociologist Emile Durkheim in his explanation of social cohesion. Science is systematic, but “the nature of scientific systems is more akin to the ordered arrangement of living cells which constitute a polycellular organism.” Steven D. Ealy (2002) described how “Polanyi’s professional work led him to consider the broader implications of science as an institution, first, to an examination of the nature of the scientific enterprise and questions of scientific governance, and then, to consider the institutional arrangements appropriate for complex societies.” As Ealy noted (2002) Polanyi rejected “the image of men building a house, with the blueprints as the plan. Scientists cooperate by adjusting their research to the research and findings of other scientists working in the same field as they pursue their own research agenda, just as in embryonic development healthy cells adjust their growth to the surrounding cells. But this image too proves inadequate. “The actual situation . . . may perhaps be better captured by using Milton’s simile, which likens truth to a shattered statue, with fragments lying widely scattered and hidden in many places. Each scientist on his own initiative pursues independently the task of finding one fragment of the statue and fitting it to those collected by others.”But even this is inadequate, for it will be obvious (setting aside certain contemporary works of art) when the statue is incomplete, but science always appears to be a complete whole. Polanyi therefore modifies Milton’s image by stipulating that the shattered statue appears to be complete even as new pieces are being added and that its meaning is modified—to the surprise of those watching— with each addition. This is crucial in understanding why central planning in science cannot work. No committee of scientists, however distinguished, could forecast the further progress of science except for the routine extension of the existing system. No important scientific advance could ever be foretold by such a committee. The problems allocated by it would therefore be of no real scientific value. They would either be devoid of originality, or if, throwing prudence to the winds, the committee once ventured on some really novel proposals, their suggestions would invariably prove impractical. For the points at which the existing system of science can be effectively amended reveal themselves only to the individual investigator. And even he can discover only through a lifelong concentration on one particular aspect of science a small number of practicable and really worth-while problems. In a number of studies Polanyi continues his critique of central planning in science and his understanding of the “self government of science.” The scientific enterprise involves what Polanyi calls “general authority,” characterized by rules of art and individual freedom to pursue research, “governed” by a loose set of institutions that publicize and evaluate scientific activity and maintain professional standards. He then extends his analysis to consider the cognitive limitations on central planning in complex organizations and societies—some of this work paralleling that of Hayek. Although Polanyi uses the term“polycentric” in a technical sense in his papers, I think it can be helpful to think of that term as applicable to an understanding of society which sees multiple sources and locations of social power, none of which are “comprehensive and authoritative” in a final sense—just as there is no “final authority” in science (except in a very temporary and localized way).” Ealy (2002) continues by suggesting that, “A fruitful avenue for future research would be to relate Polanyi’s discussion of the self-government of science to a consideration of civil society. The concept of civil society, so popular right now, can be particularly important to the extent it is developed with an understanding that community and intermediary institutions are actually independent, control their own affairs, and have the resources and power to influence the direction(s) of social change (as opposed to being merely “delagatees” of governmental chores).” For more on how Polanyi offered an alternative to the political vision of Strauss and Will see Ealy (2002).

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)

1959 In his article entitled “What is Political Philosophy?” Leo Strauss’ identified the major premise underlying political philosophy as the notion that “the political association . . . is the most comprehensive or authoritative association” in society (1959:13). Ealy (2002) offered a critique of this position based on the argument that “the political” exists in the modern world only by analogy, and that the use of the political analogy allows many assumptions, perhaps true of the ancient Greek Polis, to be applied without serious thought to the modern state.”

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).

1995 Roskilde Symposium (Denmark 1995) ‘From Social Exclusion to Social Cohesion: a policy agenda’, convened on the eve of the Copenhagen conference, and jointly sponsored by UNESCO, WHO, ILO, and the European Commission DG XII’. See also Bessis, Sophie. 1995. “From social exclusion to social cohesion:  towards a policy agenda.” Policy Paper – No. 2. Management of Social Transformations (MOST) – UNESCO. The Roskilde Symposium. University of Roskilde, Denmark. 2-4 March 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)

1998-01-04”To have an economy with a Labor Government where the pound is too strong rather than too weak is quite a notable achievement,” said Anthony Giddens, director of the London School of Economics. Mr. Giddens’s concept of effecting consensual change not from the right or the left but from the ”radical center” has been adopted by Mr. Blair as his own. [. . .] It was academics from his London School of Economics, led by William Beveridge in 1942, who formulated the basis of the welfare state that the Labor Government of Clement Attlee created in 1945 to help Britain recover from World War II.[ The social security part of the budget now reaches $170 billion, or one-third of the Government’s spending, a tempting target for an administration that has promised greater social cohesion while pledging to hold the line on taxes and spending. This outlay for welfare has continued to grow even through the Conservative years. [. . .] According to David G. Green, director of the health and welfare unit at the Institute of Economic Affairs, 30 percent of the British population now rely on subsidies where only 4 percent did in 1951 (Hoge 1998-01-04)”

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).”

2007-10-05In his New York Times Op-Ed article entitled “The Republican Collapse, Brooks argued that the Burkean dispositional conservatism which emerged after the French Revolution has been abandoned by different creedal conservatism: 1) free market conservatives (1967-2008-) built on freedom and capitalism. (creedal conservatives like William F. Buckley, George F. Will and Andrew Sullivan value transformational leadership and perpetual tax cuts, devolve power to the individual, through tax cuts, private pensions and medical accounts, at the price of social cohesion. 1967-2007 free market conservatives within the GOParty have put freedom [with government as a threat to freedom] at the center of their political philosophy); 2) religious conservatives built on a conception of a transcendent order. Within the G.O.P. they have argued that social policies should be guided by the eternal truths of natural law and that questions about stem cell research and euthanasia should reflect the immutable sacredness of human life; and 3) Neoconservatives and others built a creed around the words of Lincoln and the founders. Edmund Burke’s ideology of conservatism was based on a reverence for tradition, a suspicion of radical change, epistemological modesty, awareness of the limitations on what we do and can know, what we can and cannot plan, power must always be clothed in constitutionalism. “The Burkean conservative believes that society is an organism; that custom, tradition and habit are the prime movers of that organism; and that successful government institutions grow gradually from each nation’s unique network of moral and social restraints.” “Temperamental conservative believes government is like fire — useful when used legitimately, but dangerous when not.” Dispositional Burkean conservative puts legitimate authority at the center.” But temperamental conservatives are suspicious of the idea of settling issues on the basis of abstract truth. These kinds of conservatives hold that moral laws emerge through deliberation and practice. The temperamental conservative does not see a nation composed of individuals who should be given maximum liberty to make choices. Instead, the individual is a part of a social organism and thrives only within the attachments to family, community and nation that precede choice.” “Therefore, the Burkean dispositional (temperamental) conservative values social cohesion alongside individual freedom and worries that too much individualism, too much segmentation, too much tension between races and groups will tear the underlying unity on which all else depends. Without unity, the police are regarded as alien powers, the country will fracture under the strain of war and the economy will be undermined by lack of social trust.” Brooks, David. 2007-10-05. “The Republican Collapse.” New York Times. Dispositional (temperamental) conservatives such as suburban, Midwestern and many business voters value order, prudence and balanced budgets in contrast to creedal conservatives.

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 ?).”

Some of the most compelling work currently being done in the name of social cohesion is undertaken under the auspices of the Council of Europe, formed in Post WWII. The Council of Europe’s Directorate General of Social Cohesion (DG III) among other things “develops interaction and synergies between the work of the Council of Europe in the field of social cohesion and other European, regional and universal actors in the field of social cohesion through targeted contacts and liaison with the competent services and bodies of the United Nations family, the OSCE, OECD, the World Bank and the European Union, taking into account the specific responsibilities of the DGAP ( Mandate >> COE).”

“The subject of social cohesion has attracted much attention from inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental organisations during since c. 1993 prompted by a widely-held belief that the quality of public and civic life is in decline (Cantle 2001, MGPOCC 2001, NSAUK 2003).” Social inclusion is one of the major challenges of governance in this advanced stage of globalization where nations are at the threshold of post-nationalism.“Cultural activities have the potential of encouraging social cohesion. Cultural industries encompass production and distribution as well as their related knowledge systems. There is a tension between the need for those who are developing and implementing public policy to engage in political and budgetary arbitration while reflecting on the long-term objectives of reconciliation which involves the slower processes of memory work with its passions and anxieties (Flynn-Burhoe “Cultural policy in a highly pluralistic society.” 2005).”

Definitions of social cohesion

“Social cohesion is the capacity for cooperation in society based on the set of positive effects accruing from social capital, in addition to the sum of factors promoting equity in the distribution of opportunities among individuals (Ferroni 2006).” Social capital and social cohesion are relevant dimensions of the standard of living, both as means to attain certain desired results and ends in themselves. Social capital and social cohesion are increasingly invoked as desiderata in the evolving discussion of the social agenda and social rights in Latin American Countires. Ferroni illustrated how interpersonal trust and trust in institutions eroded between 1996 and 2004.

“The literature on social cohesion is rich and varied, yet poorly integrated. Social cohesion is a measure of how tightly coupled, robust and unified a community is across a set of indicators. A community with a strong sense of identity and shared goals is considered to be more cohesive than one without these qualities. A cohesive community is also able to buffer more effectively changes resulting from realignments of international actors, national priorities, local political climates, economic upturns or downturns and the introduction of new technologies. Recent developments in agricultural biotechnology and their subsequent commercialisation give us a unique opportunity to chart how agricultural communities adjust to this suite of technologies. There is little agreement on how to define social cohesion. This is somewhat startling considering how widely used this concept is, and how quickly some claim that social cohesion has declined in recent years. Moreover, such assertions suggest that social cohesion is a desired state instead of its more likely manifestation as a process that reflects the changing nature of social relations. (Mehta 2002-11-27).</a>”

“Judith Maxwell (1996) considers the relationship between social cohesion and a range of social conditions that indicate when a society fails to function adequately. Maxwell (1996: 13) defines social cohesion as the sharing of values that reduce “…disparities in wealth and income” while giving people a sense of community. It is assumed from this definition that strongly cohesive societies are better able to face the challenges posed by social, economic and technological change. Many of the debates over new innovations in agricultural biotechnology pick up on this thread. We will now turn to the relationship between social cohesion and biotechnology by examining the challenges and opportunities posed by this technology to various actors (s0urce ?).”

“Jane Jenson (1998: 3) suggests that social cohesion became popular as a topic of discourse because it illuminates the interconnections between “economic restructuring, social change and political action.” Furthermore, Jenson notes that a cohesive society is assumed to be socially and economically optimal according to a range of governmental agencies and organisations like the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), and that a decline in cohesion represents a threat to the social order. However, it is worth noting that changes in social cohesion are considered to be much more than simply a threat to the economy (source ?).”

Social Cohesionis the ongoing process of developing a community of shared values, shared challenges and equal opportunities within Canada, based on a sense of trust, hope and reciprocity among all Canadians.” CSC. 2003. “A Glossary of Terms for the Voluntary Sector.” Community Services Council Newfoundland and Labrador. http://www.envision.ca/templates/profile.asp?ID=56

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 (Cassidy 2003).

PhD student Marlene De Beer, whose PhD research study focused on social cohesion discourses, their relevance for education policy and practice and interventions by international organisations to develop social cohesion through education suggested in her 2003 paper (2003-09-01) that “There are multiple perspectives on social cohesion, and the following could be seen as influential academic conceptual developments: Social cohesion is a ongoing process that deals with bipolar dimensions of: belonging / isolation, inclusion / exclusion, participation / non-involvement, recognition / rejection, legitimacy / illegitimacy, equality / inequality, reciprocity, trust, hope and shared values (Paul Bernard, 1999; Caroline Beauvais and Jane Jenson, 2002; Sharon Jeannotte, 2000; Sharon Jeannotte, Dick Stanley, Ravi Pendakur, Bruce Jamieson, Maureen Williams, and Amanda Aizlewood, 2002; Jane Jenson, 1998 & 2002; Dick Stanley, 2002; Maureen Williams, 2001). Social cohesion is about wanting to take part (vs. dropping out / opting out); being allowed to take part (vs. discrimination); and being able to take part (vs. deprivation, enabling) (Talja Blockland, 2000:56-70, also see Selma Sevenhuijsen, 1998) (De Beer, Marlene. 2003.)”

Social cohesion: The capacity to live together in harmony with a sense of mutual commitment among citizens of different social or economic circumstances (Senate of Canada definition, based on a review of common elements in various national definitions). (CIRCLE/CCRN, 2000, p. 3)3.

See also Timeline of social events related to social cohesion http://snipurl.com/23a8u Webliography and bibliography related to social cohesion, What is Being Done in the Name of Social Cohesion? as well as http://snipurl.com/23a2b 2 http://snipurl.com/23a77

This theme is also being developed on the page entitled Key Concepts: Social Cohesion >> Speechless.

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Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2008. “What is Being Done in the Name of Social Cohesion?” >> Speechless. March 11. First Draft. Last modified March 12, 2008.