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Социальная сплоченность: критика определений и возможности для новой концептуализации

The article discusses approaches to the definition of social cohesion, challenges of the conceptualization discussed. Definitions of social cohesion vary not only from one studying it discipline to another, but inside this disciplines as well. Today, "social cohesion" - is not a concept, but the variety different ones. In addition to academic interest, research cohesion stimulated by political debate, in which the term has become increasingly popular. The article begins with a general reconstruction of the cohesion concepts in the classical works on sociology. In the following parts of the paper questions connected with the definition of social cohesion are examined. In studies of small groups we observed group and individual levels of social cohesion.

 

Early studies of cohesion in social and psychological works considered cohesion in terms of attractiveness of the group to its members. This interpretation has been criticized for its emphasis on the subjective perception of individuals and lack of attention to the group characteristics of cohesion. However, emphasis on groups has disadvantages. Interrelation and contrast between the two levels of cohesion is one of the most serious problems in the research of cohesion. There is an acute question of the interrelationship between rational and affective factors of cohesion. Researchers disagree on whether to consider the cohesion as a process or some condition. In many works cohesion appears as a synonym of solidarity and trust, and in different ways relates to such concepts as inclusion, social capital, social diversity, poverty. Later studies of social cohesion are mainly oriented to the multi-dimensional model. Social cohesion is presented in such studies as a composite concept, which reduces the interaction of independent factors.

 

Despite a long tradition of research into social cohesion and the development of sophisticated instruments to measure it in different groups, the scientists are far from agreement on the single definition. The paper proposes a new approach to the design of the most successful definition of social cohesion. The essence of this approach is to appeal to the everyday usage of the "cohesion" concept. Ordinary language is the key to understanding the cultural context (the "form of life"), which belongs to members of a particular community. Understanding the categories of ordinary language is not aimed at finding their essence but not a description of how and in what circumstances members of observed community use these categories. Search of the ordinary values of social cohesion is a variant of the necessary preparatory work, which is often by passed in research practice. Attention to use the concept of "cohesion" in ordinary language practice avoids confusion and controversy surrounding the definition of cohesion, providing a reliable criterion for its understanding.