The Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) and the United Nations University Institute for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) will organize a summer school and research symposium on “Analyzing Regional Social Cohesion: Theoretical and Methodological Training for Advanced Research” on 2-7 July 2012 at the University of Luxembourg.
Social cohesion is a concept/paradigm utilized by scholars and leaders throughout the world. Despite its widespread acceptance, however, and the common challenge in every region of the world of creating social cohesion across borders, little conceptual clarity has been achieved.
Different approaches to/definitions of social cohesion exist in different world regions. The African Union, for example, refers to social cohesion in terms of anti-colonialism, African cultural heritage and continental cooperation. The Andean Community and Mercosur, meanwhile, discuss the concept with reference to social exclusion/integration and poverty reduction. In Europe, definitions vary: the European Union approaches cohesion as bridging development gaps between regions, whereas the Council of Europe focuses on embracing cultural diversity within continental notions of citizenship and the extension of social and cultural rights. Finally, in North America, there is little regional reference to social cohesion due to the structure and content of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The RISC/UNU-CRIS summer school will provide training for PhD candidates, postdoctoral researchers and research-oriented practitioners on theoretical and methodological aspects of research related to social cohesion. Moreover, because cohesion is an emerging topic in regional integration debates, it will explicitly frames discussions in regional terms.
Participants will gain an overview of present debates surrounding social cohesion strategies in different world regions; learn methodological skills for cross-regional, comparative analyses of social cohesion issues; acquire insight into present and potential future relationships between social cohesion and regional integration; and gain an understanding of the practical implications of social cohesion discussions through interaction with governmental officials and representatives of nongovernmental organizations.
The deadline for applications is 15 April 2012. For more information, see the Call for Applications on the UNU-CRIS website.