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Publication Detail
Ethnic heterogeneity, ethnic and national identity, and social cohesion in England
  • Publication Type:
    Chapter
  • Authors:
    Wiertz D, Bennett MR, Parameshwaran M
  • Publication date:
    01/01/2014
  • Pagination:
    123, 142
  • ISBN-13:
    9781138024090
  • Status:
    Published
  • Book title:
    Social Cohesion and Immigration in Europe and North America: Mechanisms, Conditions, and Causality
Abstract
This chapter investigates to what extent ethnic identity and national identity mediate the relationship between ethnic heterogeneity and social cohesion in England. Scholars argue that a shared superordinate national identity is necessary to foster trust, cooperation, and solidarity among diverse sub-groups in a society (Miller, 1995; Reeskens and Wright, 2013). Some commentators assert that ethnic heterogeneity undermines the trust and solidarity necessary for cohesive societies (cf. Goodhart, 2013; Scheffer and Waters, 2011) because it reinforces separate ethnic (subordinate) identities rather than promotes a shared national (superordinate) identity. In line with such arguments, social identity theory suggests that ethnic heterogeneity can lead individuals to identify more strongly with other ethnic in-group members rather than with members of society more broadly, which could thereby restrict the development of a shared superordinate identity and therefore harm social cohesion. As such, besides the mechanisms discussed in Chapter 1, the strength of ethnic and national identities represents an additional mechanism that may explain the relationship between ethnic heterogeneity and social cohesion. Indeed, we argue that several of the previously discussed mechanisms could operate via the strength of ethnic and national identification.
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