Social Indicators Research

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 403-428

Considering Social Cohesion in Quality of Life Assessments: Concept and Measurement

  • Regina Berger-SchmittAffiliated withSocial Indicators Department, Centre for Survey Research and Methodology (ZUMA)

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In recent years, the concept of social cohesionhas received great attention in scientificresearch as well as in politics. It representsa central policy goal at the national and thesupranational level as declared for example bymany policy documents of the European Union.The present paper integrates social cohesioninto the components of quality of life anddistinguishes two essential goal dimensionsinherent in the concept: the inequalitydimension and the social capital dimension. Thefirst dimension incorporates the goals ofreducing disparities, promoting equalopportunities and combating social exclusion,while the second dimension deals with allaspects aiming at strengthening socialrelations, interactions and ties. A proposal ismade on how to measure this conceptualisationof social cohesion within the framework of aEuropean System of Social Indicators, and someexamples of indicators of social cohesion inEurope are discussed.