Social cohesion of society as an important direction of social policy
The concept of social cohesion
Social cohesion is one of the basic doctrines of the development of modern society. It assumes active participation of the population in solving urgent problems of one's vital activity, in overcoming social exclusion and social disintegration (poverty, homelessness, orphanhood, etc.)."The member states of the Council of Europe view social cohesion as a priority in the organization of social, cultural, political life, and its achievements as an unacceptable condition for the protection of human rights and dignity."
The content of the category social cohesion detailed in the same-name concept, developed in the 1990s. in the framework of the Council of Europe and included in the political strategy of the Council of Europe at the Second Summit of Heads of State and Government in 1997 as the main recommendations for the organization of the social policy of this coalition of states. According to the authors of the concept, "social cohesion" reflects the existence of common values and strong social ties in society, as well as the consent of members of the community to fulfill their joint responsibilities. In this sense, the concept of social cohesion is close to the idea of social solidarity, when people and their groups, understanding the nature of public goods and being ready to act for it, unite for the sake of the common cause, identifying themselves as responsible members of the community.
Cohesion (or social solidarity) was based (should be based) on different criteria. So, in simple societies (primitive communal) it was based on relations of kinship, direct relationships and common values. In other, more complex societies that are built on class differentiation, private property, relations of kinship, direct relationships, of course, retain their significance, but within the first and foremost homogeneous class, social communities. From the point of view of social cohesion, group, class-based class interests come to the foreground in terms of social cohesion, based on the commonality of this or that form of property, the community of spiritual and political interests.
If we talk about the possibility of social cohesion of society, then with the emergence of class differentiation, it can be realized only on a healthy socio-political, socio-economic and socio-administrative basis in their unity. This applies to specific societies (including modern United States society) and human society as a whole.
Social cohesion of human society as a whole is an objective necessity of its development, manifested, in particular, in the process of convergence of socio-economic systems, substantiated by PA Sorokin. From this point of view, not only theoretical but also of purely practical interest is the possible direction for the further development of modern United States society (including the path of strengthening or weakening of social cohesion). Nowadays the existing state of spheres of public life (in politics, economy, social sphere, etc.) testify to three possible trends:
1) a return to socialist order (probably in altered forms), which will be hindered not only by internal, but also by external forces. At the same time, the global crisis, the "pole" Latin American continent (and not only) can facilitate such a return;
2) abandoning the socialist path of development (in the foreseeable future) and building (or rather, recreating) capitalism in other conditions and forms and on a new basis;
3) development associated with instability, instability, combining elements (in different portions) of different types of socio-political systems.
It seems that the first way is preferable, at least for the majority of the population of the country. This path is also important for many other nations and countries in a sufficiently difficult socio-economic situation.
In addition, the convergence process is not excluded not only for United States, but for other civilized societies. Not to mention the societies where such a process is already taking place (northern European and other countries). It is in these countries and there is a significant degree of social cohesion, unlike many other communities.
Social cohesion is essential for a modern society that focuses on human rights and that faces rapid and radical changes that shatter the foundations on which social ties have traditionally been built. It is an instrument for ensuring freedom, equality and social solidarity.
The social policy of various states in the national and global dimensions as a whole in recent years is undergoing a process of transformation caused by significant economic, political, social, demographic changes in the surrounding reality.
On the one hand, the social security system itself is changing, which is associated with changes in the demographic picture of countries (for example, the growth in the number of older people), increased migration, inconstancy in incomes, increased participation of women in the labor market, etc. On the other hand, new demands are being made to the system of social protection for the population.
One of the answers to this challenge of social change is the formation and strengthening of the principle of social cohesion in the mass consciousness and politics of many countries.
Social cohesion is not only a factor of legislation and behavioral standards. This is the degree to which social relations, norms and values are divided into trust, integrative norms and values. In fact, this is the idea of solidarity and values in society.
The notion of social cohesion is normatively approved is widely used in state practice and is discussed mainly in the European Community in addition to the processes of state integration and intercultural assimilation , going to this region of the world.
The main problems that cause changes in the sphere of mass identity and social cohesion are caused by the following factors:
- globalization requires a social policy that protects people and at the same time contributes to the flexibility of the pile market;
- demographic changes in Europe entail changes in the population structure by age, gender and generation, breaking the existing balance and creating serious problems for public policy;
- the growth of migration and the diversity of cultures leads to the fact that people living in the same community or society have less and less common, and therefore less inclined adhere to a common culture, system of norms and values.
- political changes, including integration processes in different parts of the world, create the problem of strengthening the separation of the political system from people's lives;
- socio-economic changes, causing the emergence and strengthening of new foci of inequality;
- worldview problems with respect to the paradigms of social development. In particular, the contradictions related to the goal-setting of state activity: economic efficiency or social cohesion become more strained.
Modern society is forced to meet daily in its activities with threats of social cohesion, which are due to the following reasons:
- a change in the structure of employment and the viability of social security systems (which is primarily due to the increase in the number and proportion of older people in society, with an increase in the average life expectancy and the need for an increasing amount of expensive old-age care services) ;
- Insecurity in people's daily lives (associated with an increase in risk factors due to the complication of the technogenic infrastructure of society, interpersonal communications, terrorist threats);
- the transition from the traditional identity to the development of a multicultural society (long-term openness, the development of labor migration, high living standards of European countries have led to the formation of numerous non-cultural and foreign-speaking diasporas in each of them, whose share is from 5 to 20% of the population and the degree of integration of these diasporas is different.The task is to create new indicators of interethnic identity, to find common values shared by all ethnic groups inhabiting Europe;
- unequal access to new international communication technologies.
Like a number of other social culture phenomena, social cohesion is an ideal, not a goal that can be achieved momentarily. No society is completely and permanently united. Cohesion must be constantly maintained, improved and adapted in accordance with changing living conditions.
The European Community documents define: "Social cohesion is the ability of society to ensure the well-being of all its members by minimizing disharmonies in development and avoiding the marginalization of people."
On the basis of consensus, the main directions for achieving social cohesion are highlighted:
- creating a solid foundation for a stable and consolidated democracy;
- reducing the risks of social division of society, one of the tools of which is the reduction of excessive and unjustified property differentiation in society;
- the diversity of cultures and systems of norms and values, and recognizes the equality of these cultures and the existence of each rich value thesaurus;
- Strengthening social policy measures, not only with regard to helping the poor, but also with regard to stimulating employment, providing access to education and retraining;
- increase of civil social responsibility, including the responsibility of individuals, groups, communities and institutions.
All these types of activities find their final embodiment in the direction that expresses the basic principle of a democratic society: the balance between economic growth and social justice.
In this work, the first place is to ensure the rights and needs of individuals and groups in a society that are in a vulnerable position. They primarily include:
- Children, as defined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Convention on the Realization of the Rights of Children;
- Young people, which are an important part of the concept of social cohesion, which takes into account the welfare of future generations in the perspective of sustainable development;
- families in difficulty, especially families of minor children with one parent;
- migrants and ethnic minorities, whose integration into society is the most important condition for social cohesion;
- people with disabilities whose special needs must be fully integrated into efforts to ensure the general welfare;
- older people, especially if they live in isolation or do not have support from the family.
Analyzing this concept, we can conclude that the development of social cohesion is based on the following principles:
- equality of rights for all, without any discrimination;
- access to high quality social services, open to all;
- special attention to the needs of vulnerable members of society;
- non-discrimination of persons with special needs;
- maintaining a fair and consistent policy in the field of taxation and the rational use of budgetary funds;
- participation of service consumers and other users in acceptance decisions.
What can threaten the development of social cohesion?
1. The growth of unemployment and a decrease in the level of social protection of the population.
2. Lack of legality in your daily life.
3. The big difference in incomes between various groups of the population.
4. Unequal access to new international communication technologies.
Solving the problem of reorienting the policy towards social cohesion requires taking action on some groups of problems.
Restructuring labor and employment policies:
- stimulating the flexibility of the workforce;
- stimulation of activity and assistance in the transitional periods of people's life and activity;
- the establishment of a balance between rights and responsibilities in employment.
Modernization of the social protection policy:
- accounting for increasing demographic imbalance and family changes;
- optimization of unemployment insurance and promotion of increased activity and integration;
- reorientation of old-age insurance on the right path (expansion of individual insurance due to the need for long-term care in old age);
- accounting for other changes, risks and problems.
Health policy development:
- reorientation of attention to the goal of health policy;
- ensuring long-term care in old age and on the occasion of illness;
- attention to issues of democracy and governance in the field of health.
Policy development in the field of education and retraining:
- promoting fair and equitable access to education;
- promoting education and retraining throughout life;
- promoting education in order to improve the quality of life and improve the level of development of society;
education management in the context of multiculturalism and migration.
Development of housing policy and environmental policy:
- the perception of housing policy as a factor contributing to social cohesion;
- more effective use of territorial or local policies as a means to achieve social cohesion.
Promoting the formation of an active and integrated society:
- facilitating the involvement of people in democratic processes
the expansion of social dialogue and the establishment of a civil dialogue;
- management of diversity and integration of migrants;
- Migration management.
Highlight the main directions for achieving social cohesion:
- creating a solid foundation for a stable and consolidated democracy;
- strengthening of measures of social policy;
- reducing the risks of social division of society;
- increase of civic responsibility of the public;
- the diversity of cultures and systems of norms and values;
- the balance between economic growth and social justice.
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