T. van der Meer
- 'Hunkering down' in multi-ethnic neighbourhoods? The effects of ethnic diversity on dimensions of social cohesion
- European Sociological Review
- Volume | Issue number
- 28 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Putnam (2007) claims that in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods, residents of all ethnic groups tend to ‘hunker down’. Solidarity and trust are lower, mutual help and cooperation rarer, and friends fewer. Various studies in the United States found a clear correlation between diversity and cohesion, and also for many different dimensions of social cohesion. Whether this finding also holds in other (European) settings is the subject of hot and unresolved debate. Specifically, this article addresses the question of whether living in an ethnically diverse setting has negative consequences for social cohesion in the Netherlands as well. Previous studies on the Netherlands remained inconclusive. We examine how this lack of consensus can be explained. To further the debate, this article pulls apart various contexts and various dimensions of social cohesion. This article examines the relationship between ethnic diversity (in socio-graphically defined neighbourhoods) and four dimensions of social cohesion (trust, informal help, voluntary work, and neighbourhood contacts) for the 50 largest cities in the Netherlands. We conclude that the Putnam hypothesis holds only to a limited extent in the Dutch context. The only aspect on which ethnic diversity has a negative effect is the degree of contact in the neighbourhood.
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