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 its vital activity, in overcoming social isolation 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 achievement as an indispensable 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 based on class differentiation, private property, relationship 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 fore from the point of view of social cohesion, based on the commonality of some 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 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.

The social security system itself is changing, due to changes in the demographic picture of countries (for example, the increase in the number of older people), increased migration, inconsistent income, 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 in the sphere of trust, integrative norms and values. In fact, this is the idea of ​​solidarity and values ​​in society.

The concept of social cohesion is normatively approved, 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 on in 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 and system of norms and values.

• political changes, including integration processes in different parts of the world, create the problem of increasing the separation of the political system from people's lives;

• Socio-economic changes cause the emergence and strengthening of foci of new inequalities;

• worldview problems arise in relation 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 caused by the following reasons:

• changes in the structure of employment and in terms of 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, the high standard of living of European countries led to the formation of numerous non-cultural and foreign-speaking diasporas in each of them, which account for 5-20% 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.

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 against persons with special needs;

• maintenance of a fair and consistent policy in the field of taxation and rational use of budgetary funds;

• participation of consumers of services and other users in decision-making.

However, the development of social cohesion can be threatened:

a) changes in the structure of employment and the viability of social security systems;

b) the absence of lawlessness in your daily life;

c) the transition from the traditional identity to the development of the multi-community;

d) unequal access to new international communication technologies.

Solving the problem of reorienting the policy towards social cohesion requires taking action on the following groups of problems.

Restructuring labor and employment policies:

• Stimulating the flexibility of the workforce;

• stimulation of activity and assistance in transitional periods of people's life and activity;

• establishing a balance between rights and responsibilities in employment.

Modernization of the social protection policy:

• taking into account the growing 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:

• Reorienting the focus on health policy objectives;

• 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 to improve the quality of life and 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:

• Promoting 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:

1) creating a solid foundation for a stable and consolidated democracy;

2) strengthening of social policy measures;

3) reducing the risks of social division of society;

4) increasing civic responsibility of the public;

5) the diversity of cultures and systems of norms and values;

6) the balance between economic growth and social justice.

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