Cohesive Societies? 2021 3rd Academy of Sociology Conference Online
Contemporary societies face challenges that require a high degree of social cohesion in terms of effectively addressing them. Some argue that societies are characterized by declining social cohesion, while others dispute this diagnosis. Here, sociology, based on rigorous theoretical considerations and empirical analysis, can help to clarify the theoretical mechanisms at work and develop methods to enable a better understanding of the social dynamics that hinder or promote social cohesion or division. Under what conditions is there more or less social cooperation? How do these conditions relate to ingroup-/outgroup distinctions, to different social identities, or to the costs of cooperation? What impact do attitudes, perceptions, information and knowledge have? How to analyze dynamics, e.g. caused by social media, that only pass on selective information to selective groups, possibly triggered by algorithms that even promote self-enforcing mechanisms? How can we model and analyze social cohesion on different socio-spatial levels, e.g. among different nations or groups within countries and communities? How to explain social solidarity and (compliance with) emerging social norms, e.g. under what conditions can group solidarity in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic lead to unintended side effects of deepening social divisions? What are the effects of being embedded in certain social networks? What ‘ties’ oblige individuals to comply with norms or identify with political groups such as radical right or left-wing populist parties?
Academy of Sociology
c/o Social Science Faculty
University of Mannheim