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Integration and Social Cohesion in the Republic of Ireland$
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Bryan Fanning

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719084782

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719084782.001.0001

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Social cohesion

Social cohesion

(p.36) 3 Social cohesion
Integration and Social Cohesion in the Republic of Ireland

Bryan Fanning

Manchester University Press

This chapter explores ideological, normative, and empirical claims about social cohesion that have a bearing on Irish responses to immigration. It draws on Emile Durkheim's classic sociological account of social cohesion to examine some of the underlying presumptions that have come to be influential in the Irish case. An influential governance security perspective worked to circumscribe state commitments to integration. The subtext here was the implicit definition of social cohesion in terms of the existing bounded community; its underlying normative presumptions are examined using Durkheim's concept of the ‘social fact’. The second proposition considered here is Robert Putnam's assertion that immigration undermines social cohesion. This chapter also discusses the findings of a study which compared ‘socially included’ immigrants with relatively low levels of social capital but high levels of human capital with ‘socially excluded’ Irish neighbours who nevertheless had high levels of social capital. Interpretations of the challenge to social cohesion depend on whether this is defined in terms of social capital (trust and reciprocity) or social inclusion (socio-economic and human capital terms).

Keywords:   Ireland, immigration, social cohesion, security, social inclusion, social fact, Emile Durkheim, Robert Putnam, social capital, human capital

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