Models of Social Cohesion Construction: Theoretical Reflections and Empirical Cases

Keywords: social cohesion, models of construction, terminal cohesion, instrumental cohesion, cohesion-in-action, cohesion-on-paper


The paper is dedicated to developing models of social cohesion construction on the mesosocial level in the context of academic approach in studying this phenomenon. Basing on analysis of weaknesses of existing attempts to typologize social cohesion (made by O. Yarskaya-Smirnova and A. Green and J. Janmaat), the author offers his own classification of models for constructing this phenomenon, which is based on various "cores of cohesion", nominated as social cohesion formula. Author’s classification is presented by terminal cohesion (based on formula: around something/someone), simple instrumental cohesion in the form of positively instrumental and negatively instrumental (respectively: for something/someone and against something/someone) and complex instrumental cohesion based on the synthesis of previous formula (against something/someone for something/someone and for something/someone against something/someone).  It is proposed to consider the above models of social cohesion as cohesion-in-action or the actualized state of social cohesion, distinguishing also the state of "zero cohesion" as cohesion-on-paper. It is concluded that formula for social cohesion constructing are interrelated and internally dynamic, that makes possible to mix them and change each other. Emphasis is placed on the necessity to distinguish social capital and social cohesion, basing on author's presumption that social capital (as a special type of social relations) does not necessary lead to social cohesion construction (as well as social community formation does not guarantee social cohesion presence in contrast to social capital existence). It is highlighted that theoretical equating of social capital and social cohesion in the framework of academic research poses the existence of pseudo-cohesion.


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