Social Cohesion: Concept and Significance
There is an increasing interest today in social cohesion, especially in societies of clear intellectual and cultural diversity among their constituents. This is a matter of importance not only to the intellectuals and theorists, but also to decision-makers and official social institutions in many countries. In order to promote harmony among the members of society and strengthen ties between all groups and move forward to achieve common goals under diversity and pluralism.
The power of social cohesion depends on the extent members of the society realize the principles and values associated with the public interest of a society. For example, sense of belonging, acceptance of diversity, contributing to the achievement of common goals, mutual trust and respect for all under the social collective identity. Some studies define social cohesion as the extent of cooperation among members of society without external pressure or self-interest (Justine Burns & others 2017) While the UNDP integrates into the concept of social cohesion other elements such as tolerance, acceptance of pluralism in society, racial and gender equality and the complete avoidance of exclusion and marginalization (CSSC 2009). The researcher in social cohesion literature may note that the subject definition is not without different views in the field, for the topic's various dimensions. Besides, the definition's approaches are rather relative to social culture, demographic and political situation. One of the best definitions that summarized the concept of social cohesion is that of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which terms the cohesive society to be: "A society that works for the well-being of all and fights exclusion and marginalization. Also, the members enjoy social affiliation, mutual trust and equal opportunities for progress (in life)." (OECD 2011)
We may conclude from the above that social cohesion is a collective behavior of members of the society, through their solidarity to realize public interest, based on identity, values and common goals. On the other hand, cohesion guarantees individuals well-being through equal opportunities and freedom from all forms of marginalization. Thus, the significance of social cohesion lies in the system of values it creates. In order to ensure cooperation of individuals and society for the public interest of all to tackle security, economic and social challenges.
Admittedly, there is no absolute ideal society; however, commitment to the values of social cohesion guarantees a civilized society featuring well-being, happiness and pride of social belonging. Which actually realizes what the Qur’an states ‘And hold fast by the covenant of Allah all together and be not disunited’. Al Imran: 103.