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Symposium 2014

Social Cohesion—Measuring Common Ground

The Challenge

Asia has experienced massive economic and societal developments in the last decades: China and India have risen as global economic and political powers; other emerging Asian countries have undergone considerable changes: South Korea and Taiwan have closed the gap to or even caught up with the developed world. The immense growth of economies and populations is accompanied by rapid urbanization and the emergence of a sophisticated and sometimes politically demanding middle class. At the same time, the view of traditions has changed profoundly. Mobility, education, prosperity, and closer integration into global cultural and economic flows influence the social and cultural foundations of countries. This set of massive transformations is challenging social cohesion or at least redefining the bonds among members of Asian societies. In order to assess these complex effects and grasp their potentially huge consequences, appropriate theoretical and methodological concepts of social cohesion are necessary. Western models may serve as a point of reference but are unlikely to be adequate blueprints for the analysis of Asian societies.

Against this backdrop, the session will deal with the following questions: What did and does social cohesion mean in Asian societies and how do its parameters relate to the ideals and realities of Western societies? How can Asian societies manage both dynamic economic development and stable social cohesion? Do prosperity and higher education inevitably raise the desire for democracy, participation and other so called “post-materialist” values, such as self-expression and individual freedom? Is there an “Asian model” of social cohesion which is different from the West? Will there be a convergence of Eastern and Western values or is Asia experiencing a genuine new form of value change? Which criteria and concepts are required in order to compare Asian and Western social cohesion?

This session is organized in cooperation with Bertelsmann Stiftung.

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2014

    Disciplines for connecting across Boundaries

    Systemic challenges require collaboration amongst many actors who are divided from each other by multiple boundaries. The solution is to develop and apply better methods to improve collaboration acros ...

    Systemic challenges require collaboration amongst many actors who are divided from each other by multiple boundaries. The solution is to develop and apply better methods to improve collaboration across these boundaries thereby improving stakeholders’ abilities to find and implement systemic solutions. Many issues which are proving difficult to solve are systemic in nature. They are caused by a combination of multiple factors and actions (or inactions) by many actors. Such issues are: climate change, environmental degradation, the persistence of poverty amidst plenty, and persistence of poor health and malnutrition in a large proportion of the population even when incomes have

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Background Paper

    Background Paper
    Symposium 2014

    Social Cohesion

    Social cohesion is an elusive concept triggering positive associations. Over the past decades, it has become an important political and social goal in many countries across the globe. Social cohesion ...

    Social cohesion is an elusive concept triggering positive associations. Over the past decades, it has become an important political and social goal in many countries across the globe. Social cohesion is generally agreed to be valuable in and of itself – as the manifestation of an intact society, marked by solidarity and helpfulness, and by a kind of team spirit. It is a desirable quality that makes a society liveable and sustainable. Moreover, social cohesion is often viewed as a resource, a prerequisite for economic success and for a functioning democracy.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society