Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion: Immigration, Ethnic Fractionalization and Potentials for Civic Action, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion

Immigration, Ethnic Fractionalization and Potentials for Civic Action, 1st Edition

By Merlin Schaeffer


196 pages

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Hardback: 9781409469384
pub: 2013-12-31
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Exploring the debate within social sciences on the consequences of ethnic diversity for social cohesion and the production of public goods, this book draws on extensive survey data from Germany to engage with questions surrounding the relationship between ethnic diversity and issues such as welfare provision and the erosion of public trust and civic engagement in Europe. It moves away from the question of whether there is in fact a universal correlation between ethnic diversity and social cohesion in order to focus on the reasons for which people's reciprocity and trust might be reduced in more ethnically diverse areas. Drawing attention to the importance of peoples' perceptions of diversity in explaining levels of social cohesion, Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion shows how specific types of perceived diversity can help explain the reasons for which ethnic diversity is associated with declines in social cohesion, and the contexts and conditions in which this occurs. The book also outlines potential courses of action, revealing the important roles of residential segregation, children and interethnic partners in overcoming barriers of language, values and cognitive bias. A rigorous, timely study of ethnic diversity and its relation to liberal democracy as a form of deliberative conflict that requires certain levels of trust, shared values and engagement, Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion will be of interest to policy makers, sociologists and political scientists working in the fields of race and migration, ethnic diversity and community cohesion.


A Baker & Taylor Academic Essentials Title in Area/Ethnic Studies: Multicultural Studies ’Does ethnic diversity weaken social solidarity? Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion will be a must read for anyone who wants to find out what social science research has uncovered in answer to this question. Merlin Schaeffer reports findings from a major opinion survey in Germany; he fits them into a comprehensive analysis of results from a mass of studies in many other countries, and draws out the implications for future social policy. It is a masterly work, reviewing, and synthesising, a huge and difficult body of research.’ Michael Banton, Professor emeritus, University of Bristol, UK ’This is the most thoughtful, comprehensive, and rigorous contribution that I have yet seen to the lively scholarly debate about ethnic diversity and social cohesion. Merlin Schaeffer’s new book announces the presence on the international social scientific stage of a promising new star.’ Robert D. Putnam, Harvard University, USA ’A thoughtful study of an area that has generated much controversy, which also contains valuable pointers to future policy. Drawing largely on the literature in sociology and political science, this work shows the fundamental importance of actual inter-ethnic contact, not mere co-existence, for social cohesion in diverse societies.’ Miles Hewstone, University of Oxford, UK 'Merlin Schaeffer’s book Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion: Immigration, Ethnic Fractionalization and Potentials for Civic Action arrives as a comprehensive review of to-date debates and methods, and it also brings diverse, often contradictory arguments together, and points to new research directions. … Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion should be an essential read for social scientists studying social change in European societies brought about by international mobility and ethnic diversification.' Central and Eastern European Migration Review 'This is both a thorough and

About the Author

Merlin Schaeffer is a research fellow at the Migration, Integration, Transnationalization research unit of the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, Germany.

About the Series

Research in Migration and Ethnic Relations Series

Research in Migration and Ethnic Relations Series

The Research in Migration and Ethnic Relations series has been at the forefront of research in its field for over ten years. The series has built an international reputation for cutting edge theoretical work, for comparative research, particularly on Europe, and for nationally-based studies with broader relevance to international issues. Published in association with the European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations (ERCOMER), Utrecht University, it draws contributions from the best international scholars in the field, offering an interdisciplinary perspective on some of the key issues facing the contemporary world.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Emigration & Immigration
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General