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Community Cohesion: Challenge and Change. Ted Cantle CBE Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo) Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA). Some key trends ….. In most developed countries And at an international level …and some common emerging responses Generally under ICD banner

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Community Cohesion:

Challenge and Change

Ted Cantle CBE

Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo)

Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA)

Some key trends …..
  • In most developed countries
  • And at an international level

…and some common emerging responses

  • Generally under ICD banner
  • Or, Community Cohesion Framework
The world is on the move…..
  • In 1965 75m people lived outside the home country, now 200m
  • 600,000 Brits live in Spain, many more from other countries; and other parts of the world (eg,200,000 NZ); Or, with second homes
  • Travel: 25m tourists to UK, 70m from UK – total tourist visits?
  • Globalisation in many forms: international students, business, finance.
With impacts on our neighbourhoods…..
  • Broader diversity: Over 300 languages in London schools; 150 + in other cities
  • Rural areas becoming more diverse too
  • Changing population composition: eg, schools becoming more polarised
  • New migration & population ‘churn’
Creating new identities
  • From settled communities in 50s and 60s – to an era ‘super diversity’
  • Hybrid identities
  • Sequential and fluid identities
  • Inter-generational differences
Creating new identities
  • Growth of diaspora identities which compete with national identity – faith emerging in to public sphere
  • Transnational ‘virtual’ communities too
  • Pace of change – limited shared experiences; debate about shared values
Super diversity: managing the interface
  • Between and within BME communities
  • No longer a black v white issue
  • Between generations
  • Conflict resolution and intervention
  • Extremism issue – and understanding diversity within communities
Community cohesion framework

emerged after 2001…..

  • Polarised & segregated communities
  • ‘Parallel lives’, underpinned by inequalities
  • Ignorance, fear & demonisation
  • Leadership ambivalent & shared values unclear
  • Initiatives reinforced difference & separation
Community cohesion developed to:
  • Promote a common sense of belonging
  • Positively value diversity
  • Tackle disadvantage and inequalities
  • Promote interaction in the workplace, schools and neighbourhoods
And community cohesion now includes….
  • ‘Integration’: greater focus on what we have in common, (but not assimilation)
  • ‘Rights and responsibilities’ and ‘trust in local institutions’
  • Now applied to faith, age, sexual orientation, travellers, social class, special needs – how any ‘difference’ is seen
Has multiculturalism failed?
  • We have many multi-cultural countries, under different models
  • All were a pragmatic response to racism / discrimination – acceptance of pluralism with some real success (though more to do on disadvantage)
  • But multicultural models were focussed on difference, rather than on commonalities
But the politics are changing…
  • Migration centre of gravity shifted
  • Emphasis on integrational measures – eg ‘earned citizenship’; English language, school duty
  • New focus on white w/c
  • The far right – growth across Europe
First response: new engagement
  • Political representation of new communities – electoral and at community level (block deals more difficult too)
  • Can umbrella bodies really represent diversity between and within communities?
  • And do we know who our communities are?
  • Meanwhile white w/c disenfranchised
Second response – understand local issues
  • What does it mean to Manchester, Maidstone – or Madrid?
  • Keeping a ‘finger on the pulse’ - local issues, tensions and priorities, across all differences
  • Continuing to tackle unequal life chances, poverty & disaffection
  • And trying to create a sense of belonging….
Understanding our communities
  • The ‘fear of difference’
  • Not dismissing racism & identity ‘loss’
  • Far right groups play on these fears, and focus on insular communities with limited conceptions of ‘others’
  • (Which – ICD programmes can break down)
Understanding social capital
  • Institutional & social networks which enable communities to function effectively
  • Is it affected by population churn & diversity – as people ‘hunker down’? (Putnam)
  • How do we build ‘bridging’ social capital?
  • And get people involved in their local community – and ‘looking out for each other’?
Third response – facilitating change
  • Planning mixed spaces and communities, not just housing, also -
  • Employment and enterprise opportunities, cultural, faith and community facilities
  • Catering for social & psychological needs – understanding how social capital works
  • Designing shared spaces – leisure, shopping, libraries, sports, arts, festivals
Facilitating change - across communities
  • Examples such as school twinning, sports & arts programmes, inter-faith networks, youth projects – ICD programmes
  • Welcome packs – induction programmes
  • Special schemes – church/mosque visits; living libraries; cooking together
  • All to create shared experiences, shared spaces, develop respect, trust & shared values
Facilitating change - across communities
  • Make it sustainable – social capital/civil society
  • And make it mainstream –

in schools, new ‘duty to promote

cohesion’; citizenship; gangs etc

regeneration and housing schemes

in the workplace, social, sports and cultural


Facilitating change - across communities
  • Communications programme, to dispel myths, to provide information and to tackle real concerns
  • Tackling inequalities and disadvantage (must be in the same places!)
  • And ensuring mutual respect through status and position
Facilitating change– success indicators
  • ‘Hard’ and ‘soft’ indicators can be used
  • The key indicator – ‘people of different backgrounds get on well together’ (but ‘sense of belonging’, ‘interaction’, ‘trust’ to be added)
  • Ongoing tension monitoring essential
  • And engagement with diverse and changing communities
Fourth response - building partnerships and capacity
  • Political parties – re-doing politics
  • Civil society as a whole, employers, sports people, youth uniform organisations etc
  • Creating diversity advantage – creative and entrepreneurial centres – and visibility
  • Values, symbols & celebrations
Fourth response - building capacity
  • Developing technical and managerial capacity – eg data, tension monitoring, new ‘duty to promote cohesion’ in schools
  • Developing political capacity – cross party support
  • Developing community leaders – ‘gateways’ rather than ‘gatekeepers’ (and SGF debate)
Building capacity in local communities
  • Emphasis on mainstream services, rather than specialist provision – housing, education, employment
  • Review of labour market – with employers – project future needs and skills
  • Press & media
  • Faith and community sector
  • Sport, leisure & culture,
  • Partners – universities, police, health,
New roles:
  • Manage new population – engagement, services & identity – local and national belonging
  • Respond to resource needs – eg in schools, health & housing
  • Manage settlement of new communities and work with existing residents
  • Prevent & manage conflicts & disputes at early stage – not police led
As well as……
  • Initiate cross-cultural programmes
    • Understand social capital & bridging relationships between communities
  • With leadership and vision - and commitment from whole community
  • And as part of mainstream civil society, not a special programme
Ted Cantle

Book: Community Cohesion: a new framework for race and diversity