Lunch talk: Dimensions of Social Cohesion

Dimensions of Social cohesion in West-Asian and North African countries 

Lunch talk by Olli Kangas, PhD, Professor & Head of the Research Department, Social Insurance Institution of Finland. Olli Kangas will present and discuss methodology and findings from this extensive comparative study of social cohesion in parts of Asia and Africa. 

The aim of the study is to analyse the degree of social cohesion and factors that contribute to cohesion in West-Asian and North African (WANA) countries. Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Brunei, Comoros, Djibuti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian territories, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Social cohesion is a multi-facetted phenomenon and a bundle of variables are used to measure it: external and internal security; trust; the number of displaced people and flows of refugees, access to knowledge and access to various pre-requisites of healthy life; attachment to labour markets.

The aim is not to construct just one single indicator but a set of indicators that inspect the degree of cohesion from different angles. We carry out cluster analysis to depict similarities and dissimilarities between countries. The aim is to see how the WANA countries cluster as families of nations. Which countries are most similar to each other and what are the most deviant cases? After this descriptive section a tentative model on the links between variables included is presented. This section is based on structural equation modelling (SEM) that is a handy tool to analyse and visualize links between various dimensions and indicators. Finally, the ultimate section of the paper provides a summary of the exercise and discusses possible strategies to go further with additional analyses.

All are welcome. Feel free to bring your own lunch.