Introduction: social cohesion and social change in Europe

  • Boucher G
  • Samad Y
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Abstract

This article provides an overview of social cohesion and social change in Europe. The concept of social cohesion has its roots in classical sociological theory as a term to explain the social consequences of structural changes related to industrialization and modernity. Nonetheless, social cohesion remains a contested and politicized term and, no matter how theoretically desirable, its definition has proved elusive. Thus, discussions around social cohesion are often associated and overlap with ideas of cultural and social capital, common identity and values, social order, self-segregation and social control and conflict reduction. This special issue of Patterns of Prejudice is divided into five sections. The first examines concepts of social cohesion. The second discusses the historical relationship between social cohesion and social change, and contemporary debates about this relationship in Europe. The third looks at the topics of nostalgia and diversity with respect to debates about social cohesion. The fourth considers the role of the state and other institutions in constructing and reconstructing social cohesion in European societies. Finally, the fifth section summarizes the content of the six substantive articles in the special issue focusing in particular on the role of the state in maintaining and reconstructing social cohesion in response to social change. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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Authors

  • Gerard Boucher

  • Yunas Samad

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