Community Cohesion: More than Ethnicity?

  • Paul Thomas
Part of the Palgrave Politics of Identity and Citizenship Series book series ( CAL)


A key issue already raised in earlier chapters is the focus and scope of community cohesion policy and practice. Arguably, this policy agenda is self-evidently about ‘race’ and ethnicity, having emerged directly in the wake of the 2001 disturbances (Cantle, 2001; Denham, 2001), having conceptual antecedents in an independent commission process that was directly focused on the future of multi-ethnic Britain (CFMEB, 2000), and an accompanying political discourse that has been overwhelmingly concerned with tensions between separate ethnic and religious affiliations in relation to common values and identities (Goodhart, 2004; Ouseley, 2001; Phillips, 2005; Travis, 2001). However, it is far from clear that this community cohesion agenda, both in stated policy and actual practice terms, is solely about ethnic identity and tensions. Such an ambiguity over focus can be detected in a number of ways that the 2001 disturbances and the subsequent emergence of community cohesion has been analysed, discussed and responded to. These include the immediate response by a range of elected local politicians, especially in Bradford and Burnley, that the 2001 riots were as much about drug related criminality and associated territory-based feuding as they were about racial tension (Clarke, 2001; Vasagar and Dodd, 2001).


Young People Social Capital Ethnic Identity Social Exclusion Town Centre 
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Copyright information

© Paul Thomas 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Thomas
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HuddersfieldUK

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