A Critical Discourse Analysis of the concept of social cohesion

by Mie Nielsen

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2015
Keywords: social cohesion; inclusion; exclusion; diversity; policy-making; urban
Record ID: 1120638
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/18139


This project is puzzled by the lack of clear definitions and poorly conceptualization of the concept of social cohesion in the context of urban policy-making. Using Norman Fairclough’s ’Critical Discourse Analysis’ consisting of the three dimensions; a textual, a discursive practice, and a social practice on the Research Agenda by Social Polis. The project found that social cohesion as a concept is closely related with inclusion and solidarity, but that there is a tendency to use these term interchangeably, which adds to the poorly conceptualization of social cohesion. Social Polis promotes social cohesion as being in opposition to exclusion, but the project found this was not the case throughout the discourse. A strong internal cohesion can create an idea of the excluded group being seen as ’the others’. Social Polis mostly promotes diversity as entailing obstacles towards social cohesion, which the project sees ambiguously on. The project further found that the simplicity of some policies might create more obstacles than advantages towards social cohesion. The project finally raises the question of whether diversity is disabling for social cohesion or if it is the discursive practice that promotes diversity as being disabling.