The Rise and Fall of Social Cohesion: The Construction and De-construction of Social Trust in the…

Hardcover | August 1, 2013

byChristian Albrekt Larsen

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The book explores the ways in which social cohesion - measured as trust in unknown fellow citizens - can be established and undermined. It examines the US and UK, where social cohesion declined in the latter part of the twentieth century, and Sweden and Denmark, where social cohesionincreased, and aims to put forward a social constructivist explanation for this shift. Demonstrating the importance of public perceptions about living in a meritocratic middle class society, the book argues that trust declined because the Americans and British came to believe that most other citizens belong to an untrustworthy, undeserving, and even dangerous "bottom" of societyrather than to the trustworthy middle classes. In contrast, trust increased amongst Swedes and Danes as they believed that most citizens belong to the "middle" of society rather than to the "bottom". Furthermore, the Swedes and Danes came to view the (perceived) narrow "bottom" of their society astrustworthy, deserving, and peaceful. The book argues that social cohesion is primarily a cognitive phenomenon, in contrast to previous research, which has emphasized the presence of shared moral norms, fair institutions, networks, engagement in civil society etc. The book is based on unique empirical data material, where American survey items have been replicated in the British Social Attitude survey and the Danish and Swedish ISSP surveys (exclusively for this book). It also includes a unique cross-national study of media content covering a five year periodin UK, Sweden, and Denmark. It demonstrates how "the bottom" and "he middle" is differently constructed across countries.

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The book explores the ways in which social cohesion - measured as trust in unknown fellow citizens - can be established and undermined. It examines the US and UK, where social cohesion declined in the latter part of the twentieth century, and Sweden and Denmark, where social cohesionincreased, and aims to put forward a social construct...

Christian Albrekt Larsen is Professor at Centre for Comparative Welfare Studies at Aalborg University, Denmark. He has published a number of books and articles primarily about the Danish and Nordic welfare state, including The institutional logic of welfare attitudes: How welfare regimes influence public support" (2006).

other books by Christian Albrekt Larsen

The Institutional Logic of Welfare Attitudes: How Welfare Regimes Influence Public Support
The Institutional Logic of Welfare Attitudes: How Welfa...

Kobo ebook|Feb 24 2016

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pagesPublished:August 1, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199681848

ISBN - 13:9780199681846

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Table of Contents

1. The Rise and Fall of Social CohesionPart 1: The Rise and Fall of the Middle-Class Society: A Kernel of Truth2. The Three Threats to the Social Fabric of the "Golden Age"3. The Contingent Consequences of the Three ThreatsPart 2: The Importance of Perceptions4. A Social Constructivist Theory of Economic Inequality and Trust5. Perceptions of Middle-Class Society and Social Trust: A Micro- PerspectivePart 3: The Construction of members of the imagined national community: The Case of "the Bottom"6. How to Study the Social Construction of "the Bottom"7. The Media Poor and the Stories about them8. The Stereotypes of "the Bottom" and "the Middle"Part 4: The Contemporary Challenges: Vicious - and Virtuous - Feedback Circles9. Public Opinion towards Integrative Policies10. Increased Ethnic Diversity: A Threat to Social Cohesion11. The Ability to Overcome Out-group Perceptions: Face-to-face Interaction RevisitedConclusionSocial Cohesion: A Process of Construction and De-construction