Diversity, Social Capital, and Cohesion

Posted: 16 Jul 2011

See all articles by Alejandro Portes

Alejandro Portes

Princeton University; Bard College - The Levy Economics Institute

Erik Vickstrom

Princeton University

Date Written: August 2011

Abstract

We review the bourgeoning literature on ethno-racial diversity and its alleged effects on public trust and cohesion in the context of the evolution of the concept of social capital and earlier claims about its manifold positive effects. We present evidence that questions such claims and points to the roots of civicness and trust in deep historical processes associated with race and immigration. We examine the claims that immigration reduces social cohesion by drawing on the sociological classics to show the forms of cohesion that actually keep modern societies together. This leads to a typology that shows “communitarianism” to be just one such form and one not required, and not necessarily ideal, for the smooth operation of complex organizations and institutions. Implications of our conclusions for future research and immigration policy are discussed.

Suggested Citation

Portes, Alejandro and Vickstrom, Erik, Diversity, Social Capital, and Cohesion (August 2011). Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 37, pp. 461-479, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1886858 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-081309-150022

Alejandro Portes (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Bard College - The Levy Economics Institute

Blithewood
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000
United States

Erik Vickstrom

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

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