"There was a new perception that multiculturalism could be divisive and detrimental to national unity, and a focus emerged of immigrants (and possibly their descendants) integrating into a ‘mainstream’ British culture." (p.10)
"This shift in government policy towards a new focus on community cohesion, with its emphasis on the important of national identity, has taken place despite a lack of academic research into what the nature of the relationship between national identity and social cohesion might actually be in Britain, and despite a lack of conceptual clarity on how the relationship might be dependent on the precise meaning given to both ‘national identity’ and ‘social’ or ‘community’ cohesion. The research that does exist highlights a number of things of importance. On the one hand, evidence from the US in particular suggests that ethnic diversity may be associated with negative outcomes for some types of cohesion: lower interpersonal trust, social capital and support for redistributive policies (Putnam 2007; Alesina & Glaeser 2004). Other evidence suggests belonging and attachment to Britain may be associated with “social trust, civic duty … and by increased support for the political order” (Heath & Roberts 2008, 2)." (p.11)
"This study investigates, therefore, whether or not national identity in Britain can be important for increased social cohesion outcomes." (p.11)
"The quantitative component of the thesis analyses the Home Office’s Citizenship Survey covering England and Wales. It first uses Principal Components Analysis to produce measures of social cohesion, second constructs regression models to investigate whether there are associations between British and English identities and the measures of social cohesion and whether these associations vary by ethnic group, and third asks whether any of the control variables included in the model – measuring, for instance, ‘structural’ issues such as deprivation, socio-economic group, and educational qualifications – might also be important for social cohesion. The qualitative component consists of semi-structured interviews with twenty two respondents of Black African and Black Caribbean ethnicity living in an ethnically diverse area of London. Respondents expressed their feelings of their national and ethnic identities, and any links they might see between these identities and aspects of social cohesion. The objective of the qualitative component was to identify a range of narratives surrounding national and ethnic identities and possible links, or otherwise, to social cohesion.
The thesis makes four main arguments. First, it suggests that the relationship between national identity and social cohesion in Britain depends crucially on the nature of the concept of national identity in question. It is argued that the distinction between constitutional patriotism, civic national identity and ethnic national identity (e.g. Kymlicka 1995) is helpful, and that British identity – which is at least to some extent a civic national identity –may be more relevant for social cohesion than English national identity, which is largely an ethnic national identity. Indeed, English identity may, in some cases, be associated with decreased social cohesion, perhaps because of its exclusive nature, with its links to being ‘Anglo-Saxon’. Second, the thesis argues that the vague, ambiguous and contested concept of social cohesion might be better broken up into two different types of cohesion, since its relationship with national identity differs depending on the type in question. These types are given the working titles of ‘institutional cohesion’ and ‘associational cohesion’: the former refers to the ability to influence and access public institutions, such as public services; and the latter refers to associational relationships between individuals – such as social and civic activities – and to feelings of spatial belonging. It is suggested that British identity may have some importance for associational cohesion, but may have little relevance for institutional cohesion. Third, the thesis argues that certain types of equality may have much more important relationships with social cohesion that does national identity. For associational cohesion, structural equality –with a particular focus on area-level deprivation and educational qualifications– may be much more important than national identity; and for institutional cohesion, perceptions of discrimination – particularly with regard to equal access to public services – may be especially important. Fourth, the thesis reflects on the role of the nation-state as the appropriate ‘level’ at which to focus on issues of social cohesion and suggests that, to the extent that states are important for implementing progressive social policies, and are important frames of reference for perceptions of equality, the fact that equality was found to be important for social cohesion means that states are, for the time being, important too." (pp.11-12)
"What was different about the new critique of multiculturalism that accompanied the social cohesion discourse, however, was its emphasis on the former’s alleged role in undermining national unity. The new critique included accusations that multiculturalism had a role to play in “licensing ethnically based ‘ghetto mentalities’ and disunity” (McLaughlin 2010, 97), and sustaining ‘difference’ rather than promoting integration (Percival 2007). There are many examples of this shift, including in speeches and statements of politicians, the media, and policy. A perception that “diversity threatens national stability” (Burnett 2007, 353) has appeared in statements such as Gordon Brown [...] As leader of the opposition, David Cameron expressed similar view." (p.15)
"This idea of using a civic notion of Britishness as a unifying tool has been a key theme in the social cohesion agenda since 2001." (p.15)
"The most rigorous attempt at an academic definition is provided by Forrest & Kearns (2001) (see Table 1), whereby social cohesion is broken down into the following five dimensions : common values and a civic culture ; social order and social control ; social solidarity and reductions in wealth disparities ; social networks and social capital; and place attachment and identity. [...]
The concept is multi-level in the sense that an individual’s identification with, and relationships within, a group can be at, for example, the national level, the
community level, or the neighbourhood level." (p.21)
"Miller (1995, 10) argues that “it may properly be part of someone’s identity that they belong to this or that national grouping”, and that national identity can be important for replicating at the national level the solidarities found in small communities. This can in turn be important for sustaining support at the national level for such things as the political order and the welfare state. [...]
Putnam (2007, 164), for example, argues that the benefits of immigration are often felt at the national level, whilst the short-term costs are “often concentrated at the local level”, and it may be possible to reduce the impact of these costs by encouraging shared identities. Hirschman (2005) also emphasises what he sees as the long-term benefits to locallevel American society and culture of fostering a national identity and allowing immigrants to become more ‘American’. " (p.22)
"Mirel (2002) describes the way in which immigrants to the US in the early 20th century were initially required to give up their ethnic identities entirely in order to assimilate. By 1950, however, this policy had changed considerably, with American identity being redefined in terms of civic ideals such as respecting diversity. In this way, immigrants were able to simultaneously keep elements of their ethnic identity whilst also adopting elements of an American civic identity." (p.25)
"Lindley (2002, 427) finds that religious identities reveal important differences in earnings and employment within conventional ethnic categories: for example, “notable differences exist between Indian Sikhs and Hindus”. There is, in addition, evidence of a “pure Islamic penalty”, after controlling for other characteristics, for employment and earnings. Despite such findings, Maxwell (2006) finds Muslims to be almost as likely as those of a White British ethnicity to identify with Britain." (p.29)
"There is a body of evidence, much of it from the US, that ethnic heterogeneity is associated with lower levels of interpersonal trust, social capital, and support for redistributive policies. For example, Putnam (2007) provides evidence that, in the US, ethnic diversity is associated with a reduction in generalised trust, towards those both outside and within one’s own ethnic group. Alesina & Ferrara (2002) find, again using data from the US, that living in a heterogeneous area and being a member of a historically subjugated group both decrease trust at the individual level.
There is, in addition, some cross-national evidence to support the finding that heterogeneity decreases trust outside the US: for example Delhey & Newton (2005) find the same pattern across 55 countries, although it is most marked amongst the Nordic nations. Alesina & Glaeser (2004, 218) conclude that the “importance of ethnic fractionalization cannot be overemphasized” in their explanation of the more generous social spending found in Europe in comparison with the US, suggesting that support for redistribution, too, is related to ethnic homogeneity. Noting the lower levels of ethnic diversity in Europe, the overall picture from much of this US-based research predicts a decline in trust, social capital, and support for social spending as Europe becomes more diverse. This creates a pessimistic picture for policymakers in Europe, suggesting that the adoption of progressive social policies will become increasingly difficult and social problems, such as a lack of trust, will increase alongside an increase in ethnic diversity.
There is, however, also a significant body of contradictory evidence. Banting (2005) fails to find cross-national evidence of systematically lower social spending in countries with large foreignborn populations. [...] Letki (2008), in a study of ethnic diversity in British neighbourhoods, finds low socio-economic status to be more important than heterogeneity for explaining social capital." (pp.30-31)
"What explains these contradictory findings ? [...] One suggestion put forward by many authors, including Miller (1995), Tamir (1993), Canovan (1996), Goodhart (2007), Putnam (2007) and Hirschman (2005), and one that features prominently in the social cohesion public discourse, is national identity." (p.31)
"Heath & Rothon (2010) fail to find evidence of an inverse correlation between attachment to one’s community and wider society, and find that in fact most members of minority groups do identify strongly both with their group and with Britain. The common presence of dual identities among ethnic minority groups suggests that if ethnic identities accompanied by a lack of British identity are problematic for social cohesion, this phenomenon is not likely to be systematic or widespread amongst minority groups, but may be more isolated." (p.32)
"Maxwell (2006) finds perceived discrimination against members of ethnic minority groups to make them less likely to identify with Britain." (p.32)
"There is evidence from the social psychology literature that when group identification is made along ethnic lines, “ethnic identity is related to out-group prejudice” (Smith et al. 2003), and that super-ordinate identities such as national identity may be beneficial to intergroup relations by creating a ‘thin’ identity transcending previously differentiated groups, and thus creating a new sense of ‘we’ (Gaertner and Dovidio 2000)." (p.34)
"Is the predominant conception of Britain – one that includes an ethnic component – problematic for social cohesion, or would encouraging a civic conception make no difference ?" (p.34)
"There is a conceptual difficulty with the research question itself, since national identity is something belonging to individuals (clearly ‘nation’ is an area-level concept but it is individuals that identify with the nation), whereas social cohesion is the property of an area." (p.36)
"There is evidence that suggests people identifying with a Black Caribbean ethnicity may be, in some cases, considerably less likely to identify themselves as British (Heath and Roberts 2008); whilst people identifying with a South Asian identity may be almost as likely as those of a White British origin to identify themselves as British (Maxwell 2006)." (p.40)
"In terms of the history of immigration into the UK, there was a substantial post-war period of “immigration from the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia [that] was stimulated most of all by the need for labour” (Craig 2012, 54). During this period, immigration was largely from India, Pakistan, the ‘West Indies’, the ‘Far East’, and West Africa, as shown by substantial increases in the estimates of the populations of each of these groups in the UK between 1951 and 1961 (ibid., 55). Given the personal familiarity with several contacts in an area of London with a substantial Black African and Black Caribbean population ; given that the nature of discrimination for these two groups was likely to be relatively similar, being focused on skin colour rather than culture or religion; and given that these two groups may include people that are relatively settled in Britain, opening possibilities for interviewing people from several generations, it was felt that it would be reasonable to target these two groups for interview." (p.59)
"The interview schedule (see the Appendix, Part B) was intended to ask respondents what they consider their national, ethnic, and religious identities to be, and to ask them whether or not they consider there to be any links between national identity and social cohesion. In this way, it was intended that narratives surrounding the relationships between identity and social cohesion could be uncovered. The open-ended nature of the questions could also, perhaps, reveal whether or not respondents see the concept of social cohesion to be appropriate for describing these relationships." (p.61)
"What is the relationship between British identity and social cohesion; and does this relationship vary by ethnic group ? In order to answer these questions, data from the Citizenship Survey were used to first produce measures of social cohesion, and second to investigate the relationship between British identity and each measure of social cohesion. Close attention was given to ethnic differences in social cohesion, and to whether the relationship between British identity and social cohesion differs by ethnic group.
The broad findings discussed in this chapter can be summarised as follows. First, the multifaceted concept of social cohesion, as measured using variables available in the Citizenship Survey, can be considered to break down into ten different ‘elements’ which are as follows: equal treatment by public service providers (general); equal treatment by health service providers ; trust in and equal treatment by the police; satisfaction with one’s place of residence; belonging to neighbourhood and local area; belonging to Britain; social interaction with people of different backgrounds; civic engagement and volunteering; ability to influence decisions of public institutions; and being treated with respect in public.
Second, these ten elements can be broken down into three broad groups in terms of the extent to which each regression model provides a satisfactory explanation of the social cohesion measure. The first group has a high level of explanatory power; the second group a moderate level; and the third a poor level of explanatory power. For those elements that were poorly explained, further exploration was undertaken to find control variables that were relevant and increased the R squared values; this further exploration produced some success for some of the elements, but only limited success for others.
Third, the relationship between British identity and social cohesion differs depending on the element of social cohesion in question: it appears to be associated with moderately increased social cohesion for some elements, but have no impact on others. In addition, these associations differ markedly depending on the ethnic group in question.
Fourth, some variables used as control variables appear to be strongly associated with the measures of social cohesion, and the effect is significantly stronger than that of British identity for some of the elements. High levels of education and reduced area deprivation, in particular, are associated with positive social cohesion measures." (p.63)
"The overall objective in the measurement of social cohesion using data from the Citizenship Survey was to be able to use the large number of variables identified theoretically as being potential indicators of social cohesion, and create from them a much smaller number of composite variables that could be considered as representing a particular element of social cohesion." (p.68)
"35 variables that were retained for the final PCA, along with their meanings and possible answers." (p.78)
"There are associations between British identity and two of the three measures of social cohesion – satisfaction with one’s place of residence, and civic engagement and volunteering – even after controlling for all other factors, but not for socialising with people of different backgrounds. When broken down by ethnic group, British identity is associated with civic engagement and volunteering for all three of the White, Asian, and Black groups, but only with satisfaction with one’s place of residence for the White group. When broken down in such a way, a positive association between British identity and socialising with people of other backgrounds is also found for the Asian group.
Second, although there do appear to be positive associations between British identity and social cohesion outcomes, at least for satisfaction with one’s place of residence and civic engagement and volunteering, these associations are relatively modest when compared with some of the control variables." (pp.98-99)
"For the model for belonging to Britain, British identity is (perhaps unsurprisingly) more strongly associated with social cohesion as compared with the control variables, although for belonging to one’s local area area-level deprivation is particularly important.
Parts 4.31 and 4.32 make an additional argument. When one takes into account whether or not the respondent was born in the UK, for the non-White ethnic groups, nearly all associations between British identity and social cohesion are no longer found for those born in the UK, but are found for those not born in the UK. This suggests that the generation a member of an ethnic minority group belongs to may be of fundamental importance with regard to whether British identity has an impact on social cohesion." (p.99)
"By far the strongest and most consistent predictor of satisfaction with one's place of residence is the control variable representing area deprivation [...] , living in a more deprived area is consistently associated with lower social cohesion outcomes in terms of satisfaction with one's place of residence." (p.137)
"Having no qualifications is strongly associated with negative civic engagement and volunteering outcomes, and the qualification associations are the strongest of any of the variables in the model. Higher outcomes in terms of satisfaction with one’s place of residence, and socialising with people of other backgrounds, are also fairly consistently and strongly associated with a higher level of qualifications." (p.139)
"For the models looking at attitudes to public services and respect, one (tentatively, given the R squared values) finds perceived discrimination to be very important, and certainly more so than British identity. For many of the other elements, area deprivation and qualifications are far more important than British identity." (p.164)
"This chapter gave a report of the methodology and results of the quantitative component of this study. It was intended in particular to answer the questions: what is the relationship between British identity and social cohesion; and does this relationship vary by ethnic group ? Data from the Home Office’s Citizenship Survey were utilised first to produce composite variables, with each representing a separate element of social cohesion, and second to create regression models whereby British identity, along with the relevant control variables, were included in a model with the social cohesion measures as the dependent variables. Social cohesion, as represented by the variables available in the Citizenship Survey, was found to break down into ten elements: equal treatment by public service providers (general) ; equal treatment by health service providers; trust in and equal treatment by the police ; satisfaction with one’s place of residence ; belonging to neighbourhood and local area; belonging to Britain ; social interaction with people of different backgrounds; civic engagement and volunteering ; ability to influence decisions of public institutions; and being treated with respect in public.
The ten elements were found to break down into three broad groups in terms of the extent to which the regression model provided a satisfactory explanation of social cohesion indicator. The first group was relatively well explained by the model; the second moderately well explained; and the third poorly explained. For the models that explaned social cohesion well or moderately well, British identity was found to be positively associated with social cohesion for the White, Asian and Black groups in particular. For the White group, however, there is a negative association between English identity and socialisng with people from other backgrounds. The magnitudes of the effects of British identity were also striking: the size of the effects are much smaller than those of area deprivation and qualifications, and (tentatively given the low R squared values) also perceived disrimination, for some of the elements." (p.168)
"One might distinguish between ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ national identities, therefore, in a similar way. A thick national identity is, perhaps, one that is rooted in a particular culture, with its own detailed description of what is right and wrong, socially acceptable practices, and so on. A thin national identity might then be an abstract notion that members of several different maximal or thick cultures mutually recognise. It will have less cultural ‘content’ than the thick version and, following Walzer’s distinction, will be interpreted differently depending on the culture of the person doing the interpreting, but has the potential to be more inclusive than a culturally thick version.
If this argument is right, then, for the third group there is a recognition of their belonging to a maximalist culture in the sense that they all have some kind of British or English identity. However, this identity is not considered to be important for positive social cohesion outcomes: what is important instead is emphasising the ‘thinner’ ideas that most people in society can recognise as positive in the abstract: ‘helping other people’, ‘taking responsibility’, or ‘giving something back’ to society; rather than a ‘thick’ code of expectations of language or etiquette.
So what does all this tell one about how British identity might, or might not, matter for social cohesion ? When arguments are made in support of national identity, they are usually on the basis that it can provide some sense of solidarity between citizens, the vast majority of which are unlikely to ever meet each other to engage in face-to-face interaction, and that this solidarity is essential for such things as the functioning of democratic institutions, redistribution to support equality and social justice, and so on. This argument is made in particular in the face of increasing ethnic, cultural and religious diversity in modern democracies (although such diversity has always been present to some degree, the argument
is that it makes such solidarity harder to achieve), economic globalisation (which has increased inequality, so solidarity is needed to support redistribution), and as a counterweight to the new, allegedly divisive identities emphasised by the ‘politics of recognition’. If British identity is to serve such a purpose, this chapter suggests three possibilities, each with different implications for overcoming any problems created by increasing diversity, economic globalisation, and the ‘politics of recognition’.
The first possibility is that the importance of British identity for solidarity is emphasised whilst retaining its culturally ‘thick’ links to status and heritage. British identity and connectedness to society go together in that one either has them or does not, but having them is a matter of status and/or heritage. Emphasising British identity in this way, however, is unlikely to combat any potential problems of increasing ethnic, cultural or religious diversity, since one attains it by virtue of the fact that one is a member of the dominant ‘British’ culture in the first place. For similar reasons, an emphasis on the importance of status and heritage is unlikely to provide a balanced counterweight to other identity claims, since many of the identity claims are a result of the injustices created by status and heritage. It is also unlikely to provide the support for redistribution necessary to combat increasing inequality, since British identity (and therefore connectedness) are attained by status in the first place. According to this possibility, then, British identity is not an inclusive identity, and is unlikely to provide the basis for solidarity needed to achieve any of these three goals.
The second possibility is that the importance of British identity for solidarity is emphasised in a culturally ‘thick’ way, but one that is open to anyone if they are prepared to conform to certain social expectations. In the context of the integration of diverse ethnic, cultural or religious groups into society, this can be achieved if they are prepared to assimilate. It is unlikely, however, to provide an appropriate counterweight to any ‘divisive’ claims of groups through the ‘politics of recognition’, since assimilation requires the adoption by everyone of a predefined set of culturally ‘thick’ norms, and so there would be no room for other identity claims. The solidarity necessary for redistribution, in order to combat rising inequality, would only be achieved to the extent that all (or at least most) members of society were prepared to assimilate in this way.
The third possibility is that British identity in its culturally ‘thick’ sense is de-emphasised and that, instead, what matters for solidarity is the mutual recognition by all (or at least many) members of society of some more abstract, culturally ‘thin’ set of ideas that many people agree is important: ‘helping others; ‘giving something back’; or ‘taking responsibility’ being a few examples given by respondents in the sample. In Walzer’s sense, these are abstract commonalities that are generally agreed upon, but the details will be interpreted differently by members of particular ethnic, cultural or religious groups. A ‘thinner’ or ‘civic’ version of national identity has been endorsed by various academics (e.g. Barry 2001; Miller 2000). The respondents in the sample, however, preferred to describe these ideas not in terms of national identity, but more in terms of personal or individual responsibilities, or as common commitments to society (Sophie, for instance, said that “I live here I like Britain, I follow the laws, I, you know, I think I have a loyalty to Britain, but as far as feeling British I can’t say it’s something I’ve ever given any thought to ‘cause it doesn’t seem that important to me”).
This third sense of national identity (or common commitment to society) is open to all, regardless of status, heritage, or membership of an ethnic, cultural or religious group. But
would this third possibility create the solidarity necessary for overcoming any problems stemming from diversity, the ‘politics of recognition’, and rising economic inequality ? Questions similar to this are often asked: Barry (2001, 83-4), for instance, asks whether the problem for British identity might be that “the criteria for membership in the British nation may be so undemanding as to render membership incapable of providing the foundation of common identity that is needed for the stability and justice of liberal democratic polities” and argues that there is a “sense that British nationality is a very thin glue to rely on if one is concerned about social cohesion”. Kymlicka (2008, 72), however, is more positive about the potential for ‘thin’ national identities to sustain solidarity: “In the last 40 years, we have seen a dramatic ‘thinning’ of national identities, as they have been stretched to accommodate demands for inclusion by a range of historically disadvantaged groups … At each step of this process, commentators have feared that the thinning of national identity to make it more inclusive would undermine its power to create meaningful solidarities. And yet it seems clear that thin national identities are still capable of sustaining the sort of solidarity that enables societies to adopt progressive social policies”." (pp.219-221)
"Four main arguments about the importance of national identity for social cohesion are identified: first, a liberal concern with national identity being important because it generates the social cohesion that is necessary for the functioning of a nation’s liberal democratic institutions; second, a social democratic concern with national identity being important because it generates the social cohesion necessary for the implementation of progressive social policies; third, a communitarian concern with national identity being important for generating the social cohesion necessary for a civic culture that is able to provide citizens’ lives with context and meaning; and fourth, a conservative concern with national identity implying identification with the traditions, customs and history of national society, the cohesion of which is an important end in itself." (p.225)
"Constitutional patriotism refers to a political commitment to a state and its institutions, but is devoid of cultural content: for proponents of constitutional patriotism, the “level of the shared political culture must be uncoupled from the level of subcultures and their prepolitical identities” (Habermas 1998, 118). Civic national identity, by contrast, is a form of national identity that is inclusive in the sense that any human being may (in theory at least) adopt it, but that has at least some cultural content, where culture is understood as referring to such things as a shared language or history, rather than a ‘political culture’ in Habermas’ (1998) sense. This can be contrasted with ethnic national identity, which includes both a commitment to the state’s institutions and legal system, and some cultural content, but the criteria for membership (or the recognition of membership) are based on descent or ethnicity.
Sometimes the concept of a ‘civic’ national identity is used in such a way as to appear to mean something similar to the concept of constitutional patriotism, whereby it is devoid of cultural content and citizens have a mutual attachment only in that “each acknowledges the authority of a common set of laws and political institutions” (Miller 1995, 189)." (p.228)
"What is argued is that some kind of emotional attachments between citizens are needed; “a shared affective identity that inspires … members' loyalty” (Abizadeh 2002, 496) rather than simply a commitment to a contractual arrangement. What I will argue is that the extent to which this is a problem is at least partly explained by what is meant by social unity and cohesion and the reasons why cohesion is desired. Being clear about both the type of national identity and the type of social cohesion under discussion, therefore, can go some way to resolving seemingly contradictory claims." (p.240)
-Benjamin Richards, National identity and social cohesion: theory and evidence for British social policy, PhD thesis submitted to the Department of Social Policy of the London School of Economics (LSE) for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, september 2013, 337 pages.
Dernière édition par Johnathan R. Razorback le Dim 22 Nov - 13:05, édité 2 fois