Red Shoes

July 19, 2008

Janice called it a celebration of life and art. The job was the most seductive an artist-art educator could imagine. The building itself, the collection it houses, the people who worked there, the surrounding cafes, parks, shops, the views from the windows, the light, the Garden, our walks nearby, coffee breaks and lunches together, morning greetings, casual hellos, hugs through difficulties, laughter and storytelling, the magic of introducing the idea of art to the most reluctant visitor, familiar faces – embodied, painted in oils, interpreted in stone, bronze, marble and paint, familiar characters for whom we develop affections in spite of ourselves . . . The decision to leave was difficult and it took many months. Doors were opening. I always had my graduate studies.

Before I left I wanted to share work I had done on the interface between visual arts and the non-linearity of new technologies through grad studies etc with those at the gallery who were interested. I was able to get a lecture hall, audio and video equipment, and technicians to help with the overhead. I asked if I could use the empty space once occupied by a cafeteria which was rarely used to have some food and music afterwards. It was near the group entrance under the water court. It all came together somehow. Two friends one Inuk (Bill Ekomiak) and the other French Canadian, who were also musicians came with their fiddles and music. I rented silver trays which were filled with whatever foods friends and colleagues brought with them. I provided coffee urns with fresh coffee from a nearby coffee shop. I donated a painting to the Friends of the Gallery, the volunteer art educators (docents) with whom I worked over that decade. It was a small painting of a detail of the Great Hall overlooking the Parliamentary Library. The Library itself was represented in miniature as an upside down reflection in the water of a half-empty-half-full wine/water glass.

Creative energy comes with a price and artists are not easy to work with even in our most cooperative moments. We were an unusual group at an unusual time. Most of the time we enjoyed a collegial harmony. For awhile it seemed to be beneficial for the dozen contract art educators, the gallery and the public. Certainly the comments from gallery visitors confirmed that. We didn’t really know the details of each other’s agreements with the gallery but it is a safe bet that even those who received the most preferential treatment rarely if ever earned more than $25,000 a year. At least half of us were practicing studio artists. Some were art historians. Some had their MAs. Some were working on their PhDs. We were all competent researchers and educators. We enjoyed a heightened level of autonomy with minimal supervision.

To my surprise and at times consternation, there was astonishingly little exchange of information between contract art educators and art education officers who had offices in the administrative section. In the end this gave contract art educators greater freedom to delve into the abundant archives and library resources and to provide gallery visitors with in-depth knowledge combined with unique individual experience about countless works of art in the collection. The longer we were there, the more we learned and shared. We were valued as unique knowledge workers. We had the best of resources on hand and on site. Expert, experienced and generous librarians provided invaluable guidance to us with the same courtesy and concern they extend to curatorial staff. Curators themselves were often much more forthcoming with information about upcoming exhibits or the permanent collection than the Education Division. All talks from visiting scholars were open to us.

Those who offered to work on special exhibitions were provided with exhibition catalogues which gradually became personal favourites in my library. Special exhibitions were much more demanding to research since the catalogues were almost never available before the opening of the exhibition. So we often had to do our own research using many sources. Our first tours were at the vernissage. But for those of us willing to do the footwork, these special exhibitions were some of the highlights of the position of contract art educator. Thanks to the confidence placed in our world class curators, priceless works of art came to us! We could walk through these spaces alone for hours with these treasures, getting as close to them as security would allow (security device, security guards and our own automatic reflexes of self-regulation we came to adopt). Because we were contract workers whose paid hours were extremely limited each day, we all had in-between hours that we could chose to spend in any part of the gallery including collections, library, bookstore, etc. I really believe that because of the unique situation that I was able to spend more time with some individual works of art than most individuals ever would except perhaps for a handful of the most highly specialized curator, conservators, researcher and donors.

I kept in touch with some gallery friends and was warmly greeted there by friendly faces for many years. I still look forward with excitement to my visits to the NGC everytime I am in Ottawa.

But it was while visiting a close friend who had chosen to stay, sign the new contract, facilitate the sleepovers for children whose parents could afford to pay and wear the T-shirt that I had no regrets about leaving. As the wife of a professor who lived in various cultural centres in Europe, she had accumulated an invaluable wealth of knowledge and experience, as docent and as art lover, including at the Louvre – provided context for the National Gallery collection. During negotiations the NGC announced to us that they had been employing us illegally for over ten years. We were contract workers who were self-employed but we were not self-employed enough. We should have been permanent employees. But the permanent employees position they had in mind could be filled by BA students and paid accordingly. We were welcome to apply with all the other 20-year-old candidates but the position we had no longer existed. During our visit she confided that she was underwhelmed by the packaged-information she was asked to use. One of these themed visits included having young visitors counting objects in works of art based on various categories as a way to link math to art. It seemed to have been written by someone who knew nothing about mathematics, art, pedagogy or children. All they had to do was ask this talented intelligent woman to link works of art to mathematics geared to the student’s age group. She knows the collection inside out and all kinds of details about the works of art that might not be elaborated upon in other kinds of tours. She could have done it much more creatively and provided visitors with a unique tour.

When my sister sent me the link to the story of yet another contentious issue centred around Pierre Théberge I delved into my EndNote library and archives to put this latest fiasco into context. Perhaps I shouldn’t have. He is like a character from a Robertson Davies’s novel who roams the inner sanctum of the gallery as did eccentric art patron and collector Francis Cornish except he has a dog with him.

I started to fondly remember people who used to work at the gallery but who also voted with their feet. I pictured the colourful strike lines with Théberge depicted as Louis XIV and other protests like the red shoe event.

Monica had invited me to produce a pair of red shoes for the National Gallery Red Shoes event. By that time the act of painting and making the collage was cathartic. Papers related to those things at the gallery that were best forgotten were layered onto all surfaces of the shoes using acrylic medium. But I also added images of the Garden and paintings I had done over the years using the NGC as context. The shoes had been worn out on the gallery floors but I continued to wear them at home like a comfortable habit. By the time I layered them here they were coming apart at the seams. See Barton (2001)

poem from the reading by John BARTON:


on the picket line, National Gallery of Canada, May 2001

red shoes leading us forward, the porcelain-smooth leather dyed and the red not
dying, the efflorescence of sunset flushed through storm clouds glazed overhead

withholding the evaporated red rain of Belarus the wind blew west from Chernobyl
refugees for centuries walking westward in red shoes that looked black in the news

reels our parents watched after the whitest of nightly air raids during the darkest
of days brought to mind by red shoes lined up in single file down a public sidewalk

the shed shoes of Auschwitz or those removed before dance class, pairs of bound
feet called up to the bar, faces turned forward and looking en pointe into the blood

shot depths of the eye, red shoes leading past insomnia or hallucination to stare
down forethought and aftermath, power meant to be balanced and binary, hand

linked with hand rather than toe stepping on toe, the shoes we slip back into
forced to walk in circles in the public square outside the closed museum

where the shoes insist we belong, blood coursing in our interlocking veins, red
shoes leading us forward, umbrellas opening as one against the corrosive rain

Random notes

Like the shoes I am torn.

How easy it is to convince oneself of the potential catharsis in unleashing.

But if we live long enough truth reveals itself in many ways. Those who seem so untouchable develop cracks.

When we look at structural changes taking place all around us, those who once seem so powerful begin to resemble Punch and Judy puppets rather than strong independent agents.

Pierre Théberge came to the NGC at the same time as outdated top-down business models already under scrutiny in more progressive sectors of the private sector were being embraced by those in positions of governance in the public sector. He did not invent his top-down parachute-in management style.

The arms-length policies intended to protect Crown corporations like the National Gallery of Canada from unwarranted state intervention, are particularly vulnerable to abuse by upper management should certain types of management styles prevail.

She was young, blond, trim, athletic, focused and fierce. She was hired by Bell to fire hundreds of employees in the 1990s and that was her opening remark in her first meeting with us along with, “If you don’t like it you can leave.” The aftermath of her arrival could only be described as tense. Everyone was tense all the time. I was so relieved I was not there anymore. She wasn’t a high-noon face-off girl. She was more like an execution squad facing powerless blind-folded victims. Those who were fired lost all rights to tell their stories openly. And there are so many stories to be told. Even today the image of security escorting friends trembling with shock carrying cardboard boxes sends shivers . . .

But perhaps the greater sadness came as we watched valued and experienced curators and administrators leave of their own volition unable to accept a dictatorial management style that was so unlike the two predecessors. So many exhibitions canceled and with them years of research seemingly lost . . .

Pierre Théberge’s arrival at the NGC in 1997 coincided with the formation of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation and with it fund-raising at the gallery reached new levels.

Philanthropic foundations like the National Gallery of Canada Foundation created in 1997 are part of the golden age of philanthropy which is a global phenomenon. These new philanthropists are legal categorizations of nonprofit organizations that are highly specialized and concerned with measurable impact. Their work is strategic, market-conscious, knowledge-based, high-engagement and always involves maximizing leverage of the foundation’s assets.

Pierre Théberge’s arrival at the NGC in 1997 also coincided with changes in the capital-gains tax which led to a sharp increase in donations. “Until 1997, the full normal capital- gains tax was due; reducing the “inclusion rate” to 50 per cent in 1997 led to a sharp increase in such donations. The federal finance department told Angus’s committee each foregone dollar in tax revenue was linked to $13 in extra giving. (Angus 2005-01-30).”

Selected (subjective) timeline of events

1970s Pierre Théberge worked at the National Gallery rising to the position of curator of contemporary Canadian art.

1979 Pierre Théberge joined the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts as chief curator and later became director. He was nicknamed “Mr. Blockbuster” which can be considered as a derogatory term.

1987-1997 Shirley Thomson, C.C. 2008 Laureate was born and raised in St. Mary’s, Ontario, she left a teaching job for Montreal and, ultimately, Paris, where she worked as an editor for NATO. She returned to Canada to become assistant secretary-general of World University Service of Canada (WUSC), and later assistant secretary-general of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, working in the UN agency’s fields of education, science and culture. A decade later she was back in Montreal, enrolled at McGill as a Ph.D. student in art history, exploring the hunt theme in 18th-century palace decoration in France. Her McGill experience launched her career as a cultural administrator. As director of the McCord Museum (1982-1985), she turned a small university museum into a public research and teaching museum dedicated to the preservation, study and appreciation of Canadian history. After serving as secretary-general of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, she was appointed director of the National Gallery of Canada in 1987. Dr. Thomson and her professional team developed, over the decade of her tenure, a strong program that helped raise the Gallery’s profile. She served as director of the Canada Council for the Arts from 1998 to 2002, and as chair of the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board from 2003 to 2007.” www.citizenvoices.gg.ca/_pdf/ReportArtMattersVisualMediaArts2008.pdf

Colin Bailey was named as the National Gallery of Canada’s chief curator replacing Shirley Thomson.

1995 David Franklin won the 1995 Eric Mitchell Prize for Rosso in Italy: The Italian Career of Rosso Fiorentino (published by Yale University Press, 1994)

1995 David Franklin won the Governors’ Award for Yale University Press for best press book by an author under the age of forty.

1997 The exhibition Renoir’s Portraits: Impressions of an Age, organized by the National Gallery of Canada in 1997, set a Gallery attendance record of 340,000 visitors.

1997 The exhibition entitled Baroque to Neo-Classical: Sculpture in Quebec was held at the National Gallery of Canada from February through May, Vancouver Art Gallery from July to October and the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon from October to January 1998. It was ten years in the making. Gallery director Shirley Thomson had charged Rene Villeneuve , Assistant Curator of Early Canadian Art with the task of mounting the exhibition in 1988 which was to cover Quebec sculpture from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Villeneuve also wrote the research-intense 201 page exhibition catalogue by the same name. Twenty important works were restored for the exhibition. Charlie Hill provided Villeneuve with constant encouragement during the preparation of the exhibition which Thomson described as having “masterfully convey[ed] an important, rich, and indeed fundamental aspect of our culture, inherited from France (Thomson 1997:7).” With the arrival of Pierre Theberge, Villeneuve’s research and unique curatorial skills were no longer promoted with any enthusiasm.

1997 Pierre Théberge, risk-taker in charge at Gallery: Pierre Theberge succeeds Thomson (Gessell 1997). Dr. Shirley Thomson was a popular director who treated everyone in her employ with respect.

1997 Until 1997, the full normal capital- gains tax was due; reducing the “inclusion rate” to 50 per cent in 1997 led to a sharp increase in such donations. The federal finance department told Angus’s committee each foregone dollar in tax revenue was linked to $13 in extra giving. Angus believes the multiplier would be even greater if the capital-gains tax were dropped altogether (Angus 2005-01-30).”

“The tax treatment of donations of shares is more favourable in the US than in Canada, and it was argued that the remaining capital gains tax on gifted securities in Canada should be eliminated. Since the 50% reduction in the capital gains tax for such gifts was eliminated in 1997, there has been a dramatic increase in donations. Eliminating the remaining 50% would stimulate even more. A member of the Council for Business and the Arts in Canada stated that, “the single most important step which the government can take to assist our arts organizations and every charitable sector, including health care, education and social services, to raise additional money, is to eliminate the remaining capital gains tax on gifts of listed securities.” (NACF 2002:6)

1997 The NGC Foundation was created. Donald and Beth Sobey gave generously oftheir time and financial support through the Foundation.

1997 The Audain Foundation was established. Michael Audain, Chairman of the Vancouver-based Polygon Homes Ltd., and his wife, Yoshiko Karasawa, are active supporters of the arts since the 1980s. Michael Audain served on the Vancouver Art Gallery board for many years, including in the role of president. Michael is now Chair of their Foundation. In 2004, Business for the Arts honoured Michael with the Edmund C. Bovey Award for leadership in the arts. He was appointed to the National Gallery of Canada Board of Trustees in 2005 and to the Order of British Columbia in 2007.

1997-2009 Pierre Théberge served as director of the National Gallery of Canada, the second-longest term for a National Gallery director.

1998 David Franklin joined the National Gallery as Curator of Prints and Drawings.

NGC. 2000-04-03. “National Gallery of Canada Comes to Amicable Agreement with Educator Guides.” Press Release. NGC:Ottawa. http://www.national.gallery.ca/english/558_890.htm

2000 Kitty Scott began working at the NGC in contemporary art where she found that the NGC collection did not include many works by highly sought after artists from Western Canada who were working in a complex way across film, photography, video and installation. There were no works by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, or by the younger artists Brian Jungen, Geoffrey Farmer or Althea Thauberger at the time. She began to acquire more works by Jeff Wall and Rodney Graham as well as a film and a photographic series by Stan Douglas. http://www.canadianart.ca/art/features/2007/06/01/serpentine/

2001-02-21 Pierre Théberge National Gallery of Canada Director and Curator Appointed to the Order of Canada

2001-05-10 On May 10, 2001 200 technicians, installers and administrative staff at the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography embarked went on the first general strike in the history of these institutions. It is noteworthy that David Franklin brought strikers doughnuts on the strike line (Geddes 2008-07-09). Relations between gallery staff and Pierre Theberge remained rocky ever since this strike.

The strike was timed to coincide with an $1.8 million exhibition of the works of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt which opened on June 15. Strikers won the support of the public as well as prominent Canadian artists such as Michael Snow. And the strike seems to have attracted visitors since there were 500 more visitors than the projection figure of 18,000 for June! One of the areas of concern was the need for a corporate anti-harassment policy. Gallery administration spent lavishly to hire lawyers and security officers instead of tabling a fair offer. The red shoes displayed on the Gallery plaza have become the symbol of their strike. Red shoes became a symbol of solidarity as strikers “placed hundreds of pairs of donated footwear — painted a brilliant, scarlet hue — outside the museum (on Rideau Street) and gallery (on Sussex Drive) every day. […] The whimsical appearance of the red shoes inspired workers to create songs, poetry, T-shirts and posters, delighted passers-by, and garnered more frequent media attention than any conventional, non-violent protest action could ever have done (Bemben 2002).”

“Art can be a form of action, and our picket lines can be seen as a work of performance art. In order to reinforce that concept, we, as a group, will create a collective work of art. Walking on the picket line is a burden on our feet, and our shoes become part of our plight. We are literally wearing out our shoes! […] By placing our old shoes next to us on the picket line, we are visually representing the many, many miles that we have walked, and the labour that goes into walking the line. We are labouring on behalf of labour. Our shoes also embody our individuality — they are personal artifacts. By painting our old shoes all the same shade of red, we are symbolizing our passion and solidarity as a group. […] Lately, our feet have been taking us in a different direction, but we hope to soon have a fair contract and be walking back inside our beloved institutions (Strike posters cited by Bemben 2002).”

The NGC was forced to “postpone indefinitely an exhibition of work by Montreal photographer Pierre Boogaerts at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (part of the National Gallery). “Attendance to our permanent collections has been down,” admits Joanne Charette, the National Gallery’s public-affairs director. “We’ve had to cancel educational tours for students, which usually adds to our figures in May and June.” The strike was in full force when the museum’s Gustav Klimt exhibition opened on June 15. Charette says that attendance for the show, at 18,500 visitors in June, is actually above the projected figure of 18,000. The show cost Can. $1.8 million and required three years to organize. To compensate for the postponement of the Boogaerts show, the current exhibitions of work by Larry Towell and Diana Thorneycroft have been extended until September 3 (Jana 2001).”

2003 NGC. 2003-09-23. “Board of Trustess Supports National Gallery of Canada Director. Press Release. NGC: Ottawa. http://www.national.gallery.ca/english/552_1072.htm

2003 Attendance at the National Gallery of Canada 455,000, down 13 percent from 2002. http://www.national.gallery.ca/english/550_988.htm

2003 Donald Sobey, entrepreneur and collector of Canadian art from Stellarton, Nova Scotia, donated $1 million gift through the “Donald and Beth Sobey Chief Curator’s Research Endowment. Under the guidance of the Gallery’s Chief Curator, Dr. David Franklin, this fund gives the National Gallery the opportunity to conduct and publish scholarly research of national and international scope (NGC. 2007-01-11).”

2003-2004 “The Government increased the Gallery’s acquisitions budget in 2003-2004 to restore some of its lost purchasing power and allow it to continue building the national collection for future generations. The budget, supplemented by the generous support of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, made possible several important purchases, including Quebec painter Ozias Leduc’s Portrait of Gertrude Leduc, Jacopo Pontormo’s Renaissance drawing Reclining Male Nude, and Douglas Gordon’s contemporary video work Play Dead: Real Time. The Gallery increased its holdings of First Nations and Inuit art with works including Norval Morisseau’s Observations of the Astral World and Brian Jungen’s whale skeleton sculpture Vienna.” http://www.national.gallery.ca/english/550_988.htm

2004 David Franklin’s book entitled Treasures of the National Gallery of Canada

2005-04-06 The appointment of Diana Nemiroff as the new Director of the Carleton University Art Gallery (CUAG) effective July 4 was announced. “Diana Nemiroff has garnered an international reputation in the contemporary art world. She has been a senior curator at the National Gallery of Canada since 1990 and has held assistant and associate curator positions with the Gallery since 1983 dealing mainly with contemporary and 20th-century art. She has organized many successful exhibitions including her favourite Crossings, a highly acclaimed 1998 exhibition of works in various media that examined the situation of people migrating from one country to another. The exhibition Land, Spirit, Power: First Nations at the National Gallery of Canada, which she organized with Charlotte Townsend-Gault and Robert Houle, broke new ground in the recognition of First Nations artists in Canada, and won the Janet Braide Memorial Award for its contributions to Canadian art history. Two of her exhibitions, 3 x 3: Flavin, Andre, Judd and Protean Picasso: Drawings and Prints from the Collection of the National Gallery of Canada [toured Canada in 2005]. She also planned and installed the collection of contemporary art for the opening of the National Gallery’s new building in 1988.” http://www.carleton.ca/duc/News/news04060501.html

“Diana Nemiroff has been the director of the Carleton University Art Gallery since 2005. Before joining the staff of Carleton University, she worked for over 20 years at the National Gallery of Canada, where she developed a national reputation as a curator of contemporary art. She has numerous exhibitions to her credit, including recent monographic displays by Damian Moppett (2006), Lyne Lapointe (2007) and Pascal Grandmaison (2008). As a curator at the National Gallery, she has been recognized for her work on group exhibitions such as The Canadian Biennial of Contemporary Art / La biennale d’art contemporain canadien (1989); Land, Spirit, Power: First Nations at the National Gallery of Canada / Terre, esprit, pouvoir: les premières nations au Musée des beaux-arts du Canada (1992); Crossings / Traversées (1998); and Elusive Paradise: The Millennium Prize / Paradis insaisissables : le prix du millénaire (2001). These shows surveyed the national and international contemporary art scene, identifying issues around the presentation of Aboriginal art, globalization, and the environment, and how it has affected the art world in recent years.
Diana Nemiroff was born in London, England, and was raised and educated in Montreal, where she studied at the École des beaux-arts, before earning both a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and a master’s degree at Concordia University. She is a board member of the Canadian Museums Association and is vice president of the University and College Art Galleries Association of Canada. In addition to her museum experience, she has a background as a critic and writer, and continues to write on contemporary and modern art for a variety of independent projects.” http://www.citizenvoices.gg.ca/_pdf/ReportArtMattersVisualMediaArts2008.pdf

2005-05-28. The National Gallery of Canada Foundation held its first national fundraising event, the Renaissance Ball which generated one million dollars. Thomas d’Aquino, Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors thanked Marie Claire Morin, President and CEO of the Foundation and her team and she in turn thanked thanked Thomas d’Aquino, saying, “Through his leadership, vision and commitment, Thomas d’Aquino accomplished an incredible feat by bringing together such a prestigious group of art patrons and philanthropists. Without him, the Renaissance Ball would simply not have been possible.”(NGC. 2005-06-03).

2005 David Franklin’s “first big splash as chief curator was the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and the Renaissance in Florence. It was the Florence show that caught the eye of curators at Los Angeles’s J. Paul Getty Museum, leading them to partner with the National Gallery on a Bernini sculpture show, slated to open in [July of 2008] at the prestigious Getty, before moving to Ottawa for a fall and winter run (Geddes 2008).”

2006 “Kitty Scott left her post as National Gallery curator of contemporary art [in 2006], in part, because of her frustration in getting gallery management to mount contemporary art exhibitions (Gessell 2008-06-10).” In a interview with Canadian Art she described changes that the NGC should consider, “In terms of contemporary art there needs to be more of it, both national and international. This means more exhibitions, acquisitions, publications, conferences and talks with artists, writers and theorists. The best institutions work closely with their curators, the experts, to bring these programs to fruition. And these programs must be seriously marketed—nationally and internationally—and use the Web in innovative ways. As well, I think the NGC would benefit from being more closely aligned with artists. Many museums have artists on their boards. I also believe that the NGC should play a more formative role in teaching students of museology, art history, conservation, museum management, design history, art and curating across Canada. I am sure universities would welcome this. And I think there could be stronger ties with the major collectors and dealers across the country. These people should be regarded as family and they should be made to feel more welcome. It would also be great if the National Gallery of Canada could develop relationships with other Canadian institutions so that the collection of contemporary art could be seen more widely. While the idea of summer exhibitions in Shawinigan is interesting, I wonder about it, practically speaking. Ottawa is already remote, as the number of people visiting the institution shows, so why explore even more remote territory? What is the logic? Why not open a small space in the heart of Montreal, or St. John’s for that matter?” http://www.canadianart.ca/art/features/2007/06/01/serpentine

The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is extremely proud to announce an extraordinary gift of $2 million dollars for the creation of The Audain Endowment for Contemporary Canadian Art. The Audain Foundation, a British Columbia-based family trust, generously made this donation, the largest in the history of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. “This fund will ensure that the National Gallery of Canada will have the ability to acquire Canadian contemporary art, and to focus on the unique talents of artists from Canada with an emphasis on British Columbia” says Pierre Théberge, Director of the National Gallery of Canada. “We wish to thank the Audain Foundation, and in particular Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa, or their generous gift to the National Gallery and the visual arts commmunity.” “Canada from coast to coast has many important contemporary artists who deserve to be in the National Gallery’s collection, so our foundation is pleased to be able to give help in this regard,” said Michael Audain. “We are deeply grateful for this endowment, the single largest leadership gift to benefit living artists right across the country,” says Marie Claire Morin, President and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. Established in 1997, The Audain Foundation has made grants to 25 organizations for projects related to the visual arts. Mr. Audain, Chairman of the Vancouver-based Polygon Homes Ltd., and his wife, Ms. Karasawa, have been active supporters of the arts for over 25 years. Serving on the Vancouver Art Gallery board from 1992 to 1998, including the role of president, Mr. Audain is now Chair of their Foundation. In 2004, the Council for Business and Arts honoured Mr. Audain with Canada’s Edmund C. Bovey Award for leadership in the arts. He was appointed to the National Gallery of Canada Board of Trustees in 2005. The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to supporting the National Gallery and its affiliate, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, in fulfilling their mandates. By fostering strong partnerships, the Foundation provides the Gallery with the additional financial support required to lead Canada’s visual arts community locally, nationally and internationally. The blend of public support and private philanthropy enables the National Gallery of Canada to preserve and interpret Canada’s visual arts heritage.”

2007 “Publication National Gallery of Canada Review V gets the support of the renowned Donald and Beth Sobey Chief Curator’s Research Endowment.” Mr. Sobey was Chairman of the NGC’s Board of Trustees and a member of the NGC Foundation’s Board of Directors. Donald Sobey was Chairman of the Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Canada; Director, Board of Directors, National Gallery of Canada Foundation; Member of the Founding Partner’s Circle of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation; Chairman Emeritus, Empire Company Limited; Director: Sobey Inc., Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc., Atlantic Shopping Centres Limited, High Liner Foods Incorporated and President of the Sobey Art Foundation (NGC. 2007-01-11).

2007-12 Michael Audain, Chairman of the Vancouver-based Polygon Homes and his wife donated another $2 million to the NGC towards the creation of the Audain Curator of Indigenous Art Endowment. Combined gifts from the Audain Foundation have created a new threshold of $4 million for gifts by a single donor.

2008-05 Arts journalist noted in his blog that “Official advertisements seeking a replacement for the retiring Pierre Theberge have started appearing in newspapers. Far more emphasis is placed in the ad on management abilities than on knowledge of art. Maybe one of the government’s friends in the Calgary oil patch could take the job, assuming he or she was bilingual (Gessell 2008-05-21).”

2008-04-03 Pierre Theberge announced 10 job cuts, including five layoffs including highly regarded Anne Maheux, a senior paper conservator with more than 25 years of service. Among those laid off are three members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and one member of the Professional Institute of Public Service of Canada (PIPSC).

2008-04-16 The The Canadian Association of Emerging Conservators (CAEC-ACRE) argued that the removal of [Anne Maheux who has been constantly active in the conservation field, supervising paper conservation interns on a regular basis and contributing to conservation associations, research and publications] is ill advised. “Furthermore, the remaining senior paper conservator at the NGC, who is due to retire in a short period of time, has not for many years maintained a practice of taking on curriculum interns. The CAEC is concerned that after this gap in practice, the remaining senior paper conservator may not be willing and/or fully able to take over Ms. Maheux’s role as supervisor to future students in the NGC paper laboratory. In addition, the elimination of this position also brings forward the issue of succession planning, or lack thereof, a question which is central to the CAEC’s activities. With this loss in mind, one has to wonder what the state of the paper conservation department at the NGC will be in a few years.” http://caecacre.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/special-announcement/

2008-04 “Dear Mr. Theberge, The membership of the Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property wish to convey our shock and extreme disappointment over the National Gallery of Canada’s recent decision to eliminate a full time position in the Conservation/Restoration Laboratory. Works of art on paper are among the most fragile and unforgiving of the Gallery’s collections, and are readily subject to irreparable damage if handled inexpertly. The CAC finds it unthinkable that the Gallery would dismiss a Conservator as highly regarded nationally and internationally as Anne Maheux, and assure you that we believe that neither the Gallery’s impressive collections of works of art on paper nor its professional reputation will be well served by this short sighted decision. The letter of explanation delivered to Gallery staff notes that the aim of the cuts was a 5% reduction in the “least performing programs”. By what measure, we ask, is Ms. Maheux’s work considered to be “underperforming”? Ms. Maheux is widely regarded as one of the preeminent leaders in the field of conservation of works of art on paper worldwide. As well as a graduate of both Queens and Harvard Universities’ conservation programs, she is a fellow of the American Academy in Rome, an accredited member of the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators, a former President of this organization and member of our Board of Directors for many years. Her enormous commitment to her profession is self-evident. Among her many internationally significant accomplishments are her seminal research into the works of Degas, her contributions on development of mounting systems for oversized works, her work with contemporary works of art, and her efforts toward establishment of a federal Museums Policy. Colleagues with whom I have spoken are unanimous in describing her work as exemplary. The CAC urges you to reconsider the elimination of this position and the employment of Ms. Maheux personally. Not to do so will cause the Gallery’s reputation irreparable harm in the eyes of the Canadian conservation community. Sincerely, Dee A. Stubbs-Lee, President, CAC/ACCR CC: Mr. Donald R. Sobey – Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, National Gallery; Mr. David Franklin – Deputy Director and Chief Curator, National Gallery; Mr. Stephen Gritt – Chief, Restoration Conservation Laboratory, National Gallery; Ms. Lise Labine – Director, Human Resources, National Gallery.” http://www.cac-accr.ca/pdf/Ministerletter.pdf

2008-05-08 PSAC. 2008-05-08. “Federal Program Reviews Mean Layoffs and Downgraded Services at the National Gallery of Canada.” Ottawa. “Jobs will be lost and corners will be cut at the National Gallery of Canada as a result of the federal government’s revolving “strategic review” of program spending in targeted departments and agencies across the federal government. Selected to undergo a review in 2007 along with 16 other departments and agencies, the National Gallery was directed to cut its budget by five per cent. Where the recent federal budget released in February referred to “better use of internal resources and administrative efficiencies” in the museums sector, the plain truth was announced by the Director of the National Gallery on April 3 when he announced 10 job cuts, including five layoffs – one of those to a senior paper conservator with more than 25 years of service. Among those laid off are three members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and one member of the Professional Institute of Public Service of Canada (PIPSC). Director Pierre Thèberge also said the five per cent cut dictated by the strategic review process will necessitate other cuts that will have an impact on the Gallery’s publishing and marketing capacity. Events and exhibitions will have to be scaled back and training will also have to be curtailed, according to Thèberge. Reaction to the cuts, and in particular to the position of the senior paper conservator, has been swift. Numerous letters to Thèberge from senior gallery staff, trustees and conservators say the cuts call into question the gallery’s commitment and its ability to fulfill its mandate to expand and conserve its extensive collections. PSAC is currently considering a range of actions in response to the employer’s actions. Ed Cashman, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President for the National Capital Region, argued that, “These cuts will not only hinder the Gallery’s ability to carry out its mandate, they will also have a significant impact on smaller museums across the country that rely on the gallery’s collections to draw visitors into their facilities.” http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/May2008/08/c6375.html?view=print

2008 “The gallery’s contemporary art shows [1998-2008] have been largely limited to retrospectives of aging artists who generally did their best work half a century ago when Pierre Theberge was curator of contemporary Canadian art at the very institution he now heads. Examples in recent years: Alex Colville, Norval Morrisseau, Gathie Falk, Bette Goodwin (Gessell 2008-06-10).”

2008 National Gallery promotes its blockbuster (June-September 2008) called “The 1930s: The `New Man'” – which promises to be one of the most intriguing art shows of the year. Featuring more than 200 works by artists including Wassily Kandinsky, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miro, Diego Rivera and many others, it looks at an era when Marxist and Fascist regimes in Russia, Germany and Italy were trying to create a “superman” without human weaknesses (Knelman 2008). This is a strange choice by a man known for his dictatorial management style. The 1930s has been the subject of major thematic exhibitions in Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, and Paris. The NGC version examines the connection between art and biology. “In the 1930s, biology became a force for change, often destructive, notably in its racist and eugenicist forms that sought to “improve” the human species. During this decade, the opposed concepts of the “degenerate” – or “mentally ill” – artist, as described by the Nazi ideology of the Third Reich, and the “superman” or “new man” became widespread. These ideologies were to have a profound influence on forms of art and representation.” The works presented in this exhibition come from private and public collections in Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Holland, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States grouped under nine themes: Genesis, Convulsive Beauty, “The Will to Power”, The Making of “The New Man”, Mother Earth, The Appeal of Classicism, “Faces of our Time”, “Crowds and Power”, and The Charnel House. The organizing committee is chaired by the director of the National Gallery of Canada, Pierre Théberge. Its members comprise the following curators: Jean Clair, retired director of the Musée Picasso in Paris; Didier Ottinger, of the Centre Georges Pompidou; Constance Naubert-Riser, professor emeritus, Université de Montréal; Ann Thomas, the NGC’s Curator of Photography and the NGC’s director of National Outreach and International Relations, Mayo Graham, who acts as the committee’s coordinator. excerpts from http://national.gallery.ca/english/540_2091.htm

2008-07-03 National Gallery director Pierre Théberge sent an email to gallery staff “dedicated one nondescript sentence to announcing deputy director David Franklin’s leave and two extensive paragraphs detailing the career achievements of his “interim” replacement, Mayo Graham, who worked closely with Mr. Théberge at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts before following him to the gallery a decade ago. Some have even described Ms. Graham, who was serving as director of national outreach and international relations, as Mr. Théberge’s protégé. Sources close to the gallery said the current tensions are rumoured to have come out of a dispute between Mr. Franklin and Mr. Théberge over the planned dismissal of another employee, which then escalated into a rift between them and made Mr. Franklin feel unwelcome (Alphonso and Bradshaw 2008-07-18).” Although David Franklin often replaced Pierre Théberge in public relations they were not close colleagues. Mr. Blockbuster, Pierre Theberge promotes activities that are part of a movement within museums globally in the 1990s that are criticized by some as being categorize are part of the dumbing-down of museums. David Franklin is a scholar.

It was widely believed that the two men were not close colleagues.

Webliography and Bibliography

Alphonso, Caroline; Bradshaw, James. 2008-07-18. “Gallery’s dirty laundry receives private airing
Federal Court seals file on application for judicial review of case involving dispute between top administrators at National Gallery
.” Globe and Mail

Angus, W. David. 2005-01-30. “A gift for givers.” Montreal Gazette.

Bemben, Linda. 2002. “Poetry: Striking Red Shoes, An Introduction” Our Times.

Gessell, Paul. 2008-05-21. “But can he discuss art?” Art and the City.

Gessell, Paul. 1997. “Risk-taker in charge at Gallery: Pierre Theberge succeeds Thomson.” The Ottawa Citizen.

Gessell, Paul. 2008-06-10. “Let’s have a biennialArt and the City.

2008-07-03. “National Gallery curator takes an indefinite leave.” The Ottawa Citizen.

Gessell, Paul. 2008-07-17. “National gallery heads faceoff in court: Judge dismisses mystery case involving directors.” The Ottawa Citizen.

Jana, Reena. 2001. “Staff Strike at the National Gallery of Canada.” Artforum International Magazine, New York, NY.

Knelman, Martin. 2008-03-19. “Not coming to a gallery near you.” The Star.

McCooey, Paula. 2008-07-18. “Day after secret court hearing, national gallery says all’s well.” The Ottawa Citizen. with files from Paul Gessell.

NACF. 2002-09-18. “National Arts Centre Foundation. Roundtable on Philanthropy in the Performing Arts.” September 18, 2002. Public Policy Forum.

NGC. 2000-04-03. “National Gallery of Canada Comes to Amicable Agreement with Educator Guides.” Press Release. NGC:Ottawa.

NGC. 2001-02-21, “National Gallery of Canada Director and Curator Appointed to the Order of Canada.” Press Release. NGC:Ottawa.

NGC. 2001-06-04. National Gallery of Canada and Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography sign new agreement with the Professional Institute of Public Service of Canada.

NGC. 2001-07-11. “Tentative agreement reached for PSAC members at the National Gallery of Canada.” Press Release. NGC: Ottawa

CBC News. 2003-09-23. Gallery director under fire for $600,000 expense tab.”

NGC. 2003-09-23. “Board of Trustess Supports National Gallery of Canada Director. Press Release. NGC: Ottawa.

NGC. 2005-06-03. “One million dollars for the Renaissance Ball.” Press Release. NGC: Ottawa.

NGC. 2006-06-20. “The National Gallery of Canada Foundation receives the most important financial gift of its history.” NGC: Ottawa.

NGC. 2007-01-11. “Publication National Gallery of Canada Review V gets the support of the renowned Donald and Beth Sobey Chief Curator’s Research Endowment.” Press Release. NGC: Ottawa.

Picard, André. 1997-11-22. “A Call to Alms: the New Face of Canada.The Toronto Star.

Starn, Randolph. 2005. “A Historian’s Brief Guide to New Museum Studies.The American Historical Review. 110:1. Last accessed 2008-07-20.

Like many viewers initially watching the television seriesLost, I remained lost throughout its entire unfolding. At times we joked that is must be written from episode to episode with about the same level of thought given to fictional productions in the cynical sit-com Made in Canada on what really happens in the name of television productions. But according to US Today journalist, Keveney (2007) the ABC televised drama apparently paid homage to western philosophers who focused on a study of man, nature and society as namesakes for Lost fictional characters: John Locke (1632-1704), English philosopher of the Enlightenment Era, Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-78), French philosopher, born in Switzerland, Stephen Hawking (1942-), Anthony Cooper (1671-1713), English philosopher and Third Earl of Shaftesbury, English theoretical physicist, Edmund Burke (1730-97), Irish political writer whose work delved into philosophy).

We met Danielle Rousseau, the intensely suspicious survivor of an earlier ill-fated expedition, who survived but was unhinged due to extreme isolation in the wild, was driven by her desire to find her daughter. Her fictional character is meant to refer to Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78), the French philosopher, born in Switzerland who also grew paranoid later in life and had a famed falling-out with philosopher colleague David Hume. In his writings, Rousseau adopted a more positive attitude towards civil society since it enabled people to work together and to provide each other with some form of security. David Thomer, who teaches philosophy at La Salle University, argued that Rousseau’s relationship to the natural world became self-destructive and is therefore a warning about the potential for destruction in “the state of nature.”

John Locke, the frustrated wheelchair-bound office worker who was miraculously transformed to a vital, ambulatory explorer on the island is loosely based on John Locke (1632-1704), the English philosopher of the Enlightenment Era. Unlike his namesake, the island version of Locke represents faith over reason and science. The island healed him so he feels a spiritual bond with its mystery. Like the Enlightenment philosopher, the island boy scout also believes in the tabula rasa, or blank slate, and learns through experience. Thomer, argued that just as John Locke, the philosopher saw humans starting in a state of nature, Lost survivors, also moved toward a form of social contract. His belief that action is based on experiences fits in with Lost‘s ample use of flashbacks in which we see how particular life experiences motivates certain characters to behave the way they do.

“The first person who, having fenced off a plot of ground, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society (Rousseau 1753).”

“the State of Nature has a Law of Nature to Govern it, which
obliges everyone: And Reason … is that Law” (Locke 1690).

God “has given the earth to the Children of Men, given it to mankind in common” (Psalms 115:16 cited in Locke 1690).

In his germinal essay (1753) entitled “Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inegalite”, Jean-Jacques Rousseau addressed humanity as a whole. He focused on the situation of the individual in society and the distinction and relationship between Self and the Other. He praised Geneva’s republican form of government which to him represented the principles of freedom. He this descriptive text he attempted to reconstruct the history of mankind, a hypothetical evolution of society. Rousseau compared himself to ancient philosophers and metaphorically placed himself in the Greek Lyceum.

In his essay on political philosophy entitled “Two Treatises of Government” (1690) John Locke argued that a government’s assurance of the individual right to private property [1] was a positive result of the alignment of natural and civil law whereas Jean-Jacques Rousseau viewed civil society as a regrettable end to a superior mode of living. Hayllor following Miller (1992 ix) points out that Rousseau’s hypotheses regarding the state of nature were largely drawn from the Comte de Buffon’s seminal text Natural History.


1. In these essays (1690) Locke distinguishes between political power and other distinct power that the same individual man might have over others. Political power refers to the power of a magistrate over a subject in a commonwealth. The same individual may also have power as a father over his children, a master over his servant, a husband over his wife, a captain of a galley over his seamen and a lord over his slave. Locke’s concept of political power is that power that gives one the “right of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the common-wealth from foreign injury; and all this only for the public good” (Locke 1690). It is crucial to read both Locke and Rousseau in context. Locke’s essay is considered to be a strong rebuttal of monarchist ideas and critique of forms of governance in Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan. It is interesting to note that in 2008 the wikipedia article on Rousseau’s “Two Treatises of Government” (1690) continues to provoke controversy and remains on the list of articles requiring editing to ensure it remains free of bias. His treatises have been used by anti-capitalists as the beginning of capitalist arguments for private property.

[2] Rousseau’s essay was written in response to a call for papers by Dijon academy. Rousseau wrote the response to the question, “What is the Origin of the Inequality among Mankind; and whether such Inequality is authorized by the Law of Nature?” He also refers frequently to Hobbes and refutes Hobbes’ arguments but to different ends. Rousseau wrote elegantly without formal education.

Webliography and Bibliography

Hayllar, Andrew. “Virtue or Vice? Exploring the Role of Property in the Works of Locke and Rousseau.

Mercken-Spaas, Godelieve. 1978. “Some aspects of Self and the Other in Rousseau and Sade.” SubStance. 6: 20:71-77. Autumn. University of Wisconsin Press.

Keveney, Bill. 2007-03-28. “‘Lost’ philosophy: Something to think about.” USA Today.

Locke, John. 1690. “Two Treatises of Government.”

Locke, John, Two treatises of government, Student Edition, Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought series, ed. P Laslett, Cambridge University Press,

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 1964. The first and second discourses, trans. R & J Masters, ed. R Masters, St. Martin’s Press, New York.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 1973. Social contract and discourses, Everyman’s Library no. 660, trans. GDH Cole, ed. & rev. J. H Brumfitt and JC Hall, JM Dent & Sons Ltd., London.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 1992. Discourse on the origin of inequality, trans. DA Cress, Hackett Publishing Co., Indianapolis, 1992. Introduction by J Miller.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 1753. “Discourse on the origin of inequality.” Second discourse.

Ryan, A. 1984. Property and political theory, Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford.

Wokler, R. 2001. Rousseau: A very short introduction, Oxford University Press.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 1753. “Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inegalite.”

de Sade, Marquis. 1795. La Philosophie dans la boudoir.”

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.