Cluster 2: Structures, Spaces, and Milieus of Cohesion

Cluster 2 focuses on the precise empirical recording and causal analysis of concrete practices of cohesion as well as the reflexive questioning of these practices in modern societies characterized by social inequality.

The researchers participating in Cluster 2 projects explore who or what ties open societies together or endangers them, what mechanisms are at work, and what effects do these have. To this end, the cluster brings together projects that use qualitative and quantitative methods to generate, test, and theoretically connect hypotheses about the sources, threats, and effects of social cohesion. Of particular interest for the cluster are the diverse practices, models, and conditions for social cohesion in specific social, corporate, and local contexts as well as in the relationship between citizens and governmental organizations. At the same time, these facets of social cohesion are analysed from an interregional and international comparative perspective in order to make variations in social cohesion visible and understandable.

Research Areas in Cluster 2: Work and Life-Worlds; Institutional Structures and Common Goods; Media and Communication; Milieu and Social Inequalities; and Space and Region

The projects in this cluster relate to the socioeconomic conditions under which cohesion emerges, from sociospatial and life-world contexts as well as structures of inequality in society as a whole to political-institutional structures, such as public goods as well as local administration, to cultural discourses and media communication. Empirically, the project aims to analyse the threats to social cohesion as well as the conditions and practices relating to its production and maintenance. Additionally, conflicts and (reflexive) questioning of existing forms of social cohesion can also serve to re-establish social cohesion. The aim is to identify the diverse practices, forms, and conditions of social cohesion – as well as effects these have on social cohesion as a whole – in the social and local spheres of society; in specific regions, communities, and districts; in businesses and families; within and between social milieus; and in the interaction between citizens and state and civil society organizations. In doing so, social cohesion will be operationalized utilizing empirical means in various specifications and (sub)dimensions and examined both as an independent and a dependent variable.

The cluster addresses these questions in five research fields: public goods, social milieus and inequality, space and region, work and life worlds, and media and communication.

Cluster 2 is coordinated by the Bremen office.