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Theoretical Perspectives on Social Cohesion and Social Capital

Organized by the research network
Social Cohesion Indicators Flanders

Thursday, 15 May 2008
Palace of the Royal Academy, Hertogstraat 1
Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium
for Science and the Arts


The maintenance of social cohesion has become an important policy concern in Western societies, and especially in the large metropolitan areas. Also in the academic literature, various authors have expressed concern about an alleged decline of social cohesion and social capital. From a theoretical perspective, however, it is often unclear what exactly is meant by 'social cohesion'. Does cohesion imply a normative consensus among the population? If so, how can this consensus be achieved in an ever more diverse society? Or can social cohesion be promoted by eradicating forms of social and economic exclusion?
One of the goals of the Lisbon Strategy of the European Union is to promote social cohesion throughout Europe. This policy challenge is to be addressed using an open method of coordination. Monitoring progress toward achieving social cohesion, however, requires the development of new instruments and methods. Building on solid theoretical perspectives, our aim is to provide an overview of how these instruments could look like, and how they can be implemented.

This conference brings together theoretical perspectives on social cohesion from both sides of the Atlantic, and from various disciplines (sociology, political science, criminology, economics...). Our aim is also to confront academic and policy approaches to social cohesion. As such, this conference should be interesting for everyone involved in social cohesion policy, whether at the local, regional, national or European level.

The Conference is organized by the research network 'Social Cohesion Indicators Flanders', a joint research network of the universities of Leuven, Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels and Montreal. The network is chaired by prof. Marc Hooghe (Catholic University of Leuven).


09.00 Coffee/Tea
09.30 Welcome

Conceptualizing Social Cohesion

09.45 Social Cohesion and Social Capital: A Political Science Perspective
Marc Hooghe, Tuba Bircan & Sarah Botterman, K.U.Leuven (Belgium)

10.05 Together in Difference? Defining Social Cohesion in Developed Democracies
Dietlind Stolle & Allison Harell, McGill University (Montreal, Canada)

10.25 Social cohesion as Repeated Situational Interaction
Don Weenink, Wageningen University (The Netherlands)

10.45 Discussion
11.05 Coffee/Tea

Spatial Components of Social Cohesion

11.30 The Municipal Geography of Social Cohesion and Crime
Lieven Pauwels and Wim Hardyns, Ghent University (Belgium)

11.50 Social Cohesion: Spatial Differences Across Wallonia
Marc Jacquemain, Université de Liège (Belgium)

12.10 E-Cohesion? The Internet and Social Capital building in Wired Cities
Pauline Cheong, State University New York (Buffalo, USA)

12.30 Discussion
12.50 Lunch (at the Academy)

Social Cohesion and Diversity

14.00 Neighbourhood Ethnic Diversity and Generalized Trust: A European Replication of the Putnam Study
Bram Lancee & Jaap Dronkers, European University Institute (Firenze, Italy)

14.20 Does diversity damage social capital? A comparative study of neighbourhood diversity and social capital in the U.S. and Britain.
Edward Fieldhouse & David Cutts, University of Manchester (UK)

14.40 Integration, Social Capital and Social Cohesion: Complex Links and Relations
Kris Vancluysen and Maarten Van Craen, University Hasselt (Belgium)

15.00 Discussion

Measuring Social Cohesion

15.20 Social cohesion: an integrated empirical approach
Hans Schmeets, Statistics Netherlands (Heerlen, The Netherlands)

15.40 Is a Composite Social Cohesion Indicator Possible?
Daniel Defays & Christine Ruyters, IWEPS (Namur, Belgium)

16.00 Social Cohesion Indicators in Flanders
Luk Bral, Ministry of the Flemish Community (Brussels, Belgium)

16.20 Coffee/tea

Social Cohesion and Policy

16.40 Social Capital and Government Performance
Bruno Heyndels & Dimi Jottier, Free University of Brussels (Belgium)

17.00 Social Cohesion and the Developmental Welfare State
Sarah Carpentier & Ive Marx, University of Antwerp (Belgium)

17.20 Discussion and Conclusions
18.00 Reception

Registration and conference fee

The purpose of this Conference is to bring together scholarly and policy perspectives on social cohesion and social capital. It is aimed at both a policy (urban planning, social policy, social integration, ...) and an academic audience (sociology, political science, economy, criminology...). The language of the entire day is English.

Registration: before May 8, 2008. By:
a) email: to [email protected]
b) fax: send the form to + 32 (0) 16 32 30 88, att. S. Botterman
c) mail: send the form to Ms. S. Botterman, Political Science, KU Leuven,
Parkstraat 45, box 3602, B-3000 Leuven

Registration is only valid after we have received the conference fee. The fee covers the entire day (including coffee, tea, lunch and reception). The conference fee is 12.00 euro (6 euro for students).

The proceedings of this Conference will be published by the Royal Flemish Academy in Brussels (autumn 2008). If you also want to receive the proceedings, the fee is 38 euro (28 euro for students). Payments should be made to this account, please clearly indicate your name and the Reference Number.

Reference Number 400/0001/33112
Account Number 734 - 0066603 - 70
For payments abroad, please include:
IBAN Bankaccount: BE60 7340 0666 0370
Swift code: KREDBEBB
KBC - Brusselsesteenweg 100, 3000 Leuven (Belgium)


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