New policy briefing addresses social integration and cohesion

New policy briefing explores social integration and how to promote it

Understanding Society has published a new policy briefing on social integration and cohesion to help shape the debate about polarisation, xenophobia and segregation in the UK. It asks whether social integration and cohesion is at a crossroads and how different sections of society can promote integration.

The briefing combines evidence from Understanding Society with the views of experts and delegates taking part in an event on the subject earlier in the year. It looks at issues such as deprivation, disadvantage and people feeling marginalised – and examines the experiences of second and third generation ethnic minorities to assess progress.

There is also evidence from the expert speakers who addressed these issues at the launch of our Insights 2020 publication in January, including:

  • Catherine Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, The Jo Cox Foundation
  • Professor Adrian Favell, Chair in Sociology and Social Theory, University of Leeds
  • Professor Jenny Phillimore, Professor of Migration and Superdiversity, University of Birmingham
  • Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Greater London Authority.

Raj Patel, Understanding Society’s Associate Director for Policy, says, “It’s not easy to define integration, but it’s likely that addressing the structural barriers to it will depend on long-term investment, institutional reform, and greater decentralisation of power from Whitehall.

“We wrote this briefing before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it grew out of an event held before the outbreak began, so we haven’t been able to factor in the changing environment, such as community mobilisation during the pandemic, or indeed the potential negative effects on specific groups and vulnerable people.

“The long-term effects of Covid-19 are unclear at this stage, but as the focus shifts to addressing the socio-economic issues, it is important to plan around the policy initiatives in the pipeline that could help with social integration. Ultimately, it is possible to combine economic regeneration with social integration, but this will depend on local evidence and community involvement.”

Read the briefing