Social Cohesion

Societies around the world are experiencing overlapping and interlinked political, social and economic crises that are pulling us unevenly in every direction: pressing strangers together and pulling neighbours apart, creating new forms of hate and new forms of kinship.

The effects of the 2008 financial crisis can still be felt in households worldwide, whilst the political events of Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the rise of right wing populism across Europe simultaneously create intense uncertainty whilst promising security and familiarity.

What do these crises, and governments’ and communities’ responses to them, mean for participation and integration? Does social cohesion have the answers to these problems? How can we make our communities and societies more cohesive?

These are amongst the pressing questions that will be tackled in our 2017 colloquium. 

Inter-disciplinary event

Drawing upon the expertise and experience of academics, the policy community and the third sector, the event will:

  • Bring together academics, particularly postgraduate researchers and early career academics, from multiple fields in the social sciences, humanities, and human sciences.

  • Encourage dialogue between the academic community, policy stakeholders and researchers working at the forefront of policy development and analysis.

  • Contribute to, and increase the visibility of, public debate on social cohesion in times of uncertainty.

  • Develop meaningful and productive collaboration between academics and the policy community, resulting in expanded networks and cutting-edge research.

Key themes

Reflecting its broad and multidisciplinary nature, the colloquium asks five central questions, each drawing on different disciplines and policy areas: 

  • What should social cohesion look like, and how should we build it? 

  • How can we understand and bridge the many gaps in our society? 

  • How might we re-examine the complex relation between cultural works and social cohesion? 

  • How do businesses enhance or hinder social cohesion? 

  • How does the politics of (in)security affect cohesion?

The full programme can be found in the Downloads box on this page.

Bookings

Registrations to attend are now open. Please use the green 'Register Now' button above to book securely online, through Eventbrite. 

For more information about the event, please contact Dr Matthew Donoghue at matthew.donoghue@spi.ox.ac.uk. Please note that the call for papers has closed.

Bursaries and support

Student bursaries are available for this event, from the charitable resources of Cumberland Lodge. Please download an application form from the Downloads box on this page, and return it to Education Officer Dr Rachel Smillie at rsmillie@cumberlandlodge.ac.uk.

If you are interested in hosting your own Colloquium, please contact Education Officer Dr Rachel Smillie at rsmillie@cumberlandlodge.ac.uk.

Organising committee

The Cumberland Colloquium is organised by a committee of academics and early career researchers with support from the Education team at Cumberland Lodge. 

This year's committee members are: Dr Matthew Donoghue (University of Oxford), Kerstin Frie (University of Oxford), Dr Samentha Goethals (independent researcher), Dr Sadek Kessous (Newcastle University) and Dr Ben Whitham (De Montfort University).

'The concept of social integration has commonly been used to address the position of cultural minorities, often in the context of their own demands for recognition as against dominant requirements for assimilation. However, an older tradition stemming from TH Marshall's concern with rights as a means of guaranteed social inclusion offers a different framing of the question that addresses the position of all vulnerable groups and their mutual inter-relations.' - Professor Lydia Morris, Professor of Sociology, University of Essex

'Social cohesion can mean many things to many people, not least when discussing the concept across disciplinary boundaries. This malleability can of course be seen as an asset, making the concept easy to apply in many situations. Yet, we must guard against seeing social cohesion as a panacea, or as both means and ends.' - Dr Matthew Donoghue, Departmental Lecturer in Comparative Social Policy, University of Oxford and Chair of the 2017 Colloquium Committee

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