- Towards social cohesion: bridging national integration rhetoric and local practice: the case of the Netherlands
- Urban Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 49 | 9
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Over recent decades, population diversity in the Western world has strongly increased. Cities in particular have over time become more diverse and multicultural. They face the complex challenge of maintaining and strengthening social cohesion among their diverse population, with its plural identities, lifestyles and behaviour. However, in Europe, the current (national) debates on integration, with their monocultural visions and strong emphasis on the risks stemming from ethnic and religious diversity, hamper fostering social cohesion at the level of the city and impede identity-building strategies of groups and individuals. Focusing on the Netherlands as a case study and using the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam as examples, this article shows that social cohesion policy would benefit from framing the integration debate differently. Research, performed in these cities, serves as a basis for alternative and more fruitful interpretations of diversity, identity and integration.
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