The Politics of Social Cohesion

A research project hosted by Centre for Advanced Migration Studies. Funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark.

Public policies increasingly reflect a desire to promote social cohesion in response to challenges perceived to be due to diversity. More often than not, such policies rely on community conceptions, i.e., ideas about what kinds of bonds between community members are conducive to social cohesion. However, very little is known about the effects of different types of community politics. The aim of the current project is to improve our understanding of such policies, including their (underlying) values and effects on social cohesion, in particular trust and solidarity. The primary research question of the project can be summarized as follows:

In what ways do public policies, discourses, individual attitudes and everyday practices in the selected countries rely on community conceptions; how do such different conceptions, expressed on these levels, relate to key aspects of social cohesion, including trust and solidarity; and to what extent can such conceptions be justified in terms of fairness?

The project is highly inter-disciplinary; combines theoretical, quantitative and qualitative methods; and involves a transnational comparison of four countries that can be said to express highly different community conceptions, namely Denmark, Canada, France and the UK. It is funded by a Sapere Aude Top-Researcher grant for Nils Holtug from the Danish Council for Independent Research, and involves a collaboration between Centre for Advanced Migration Studies, University of Copenhagen, Department of Culture and Identity, Roskilde University, and Department of Political Science, University of Aalborg.


SP1. Community Conceptions and Justice

SP2. Community Politics in Denmark, Canada, France and the UK

SP3. Attitudes towards Community Politics

SP4. Community Practices

SP5. Theories of Identification and Social Cohesion

Members of the Research Team
Principle Investigator, Associate Professor of Philosophy Nils Holtug (University of Copenhagen), Professor of Islamic Studies Studies Garbi Schmidt (Roskilde University) and Associate Professor of Political Science Lars Torpe (University of Aalborg).

International Advisory Board
Professor Keith Banting (Queens University, Canada), Professor Andrew Mason (Warwick University, UK), Professor Tariq Modood (Bristol University, UK), Senior Researcher Daniel Sabbagh (Sciences Po, France), Professor Eric Uslaner (University of Maryland, US) and Professor Daniel Weinstock (McGill University, Canada).

Research events are announced at the website of Centre for Advanced Migration Studies.

Interviews regarding the project can be found here:

Researcher sets out to better understand social cohesion, University of Copenhagen.