Social Cohesion in Multi-Ethnic Community

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: Booth 54
Oral Presentation
Eric FONG , University of Toronto, Canada
From the beginning of the sociological study, social cohesion in community, usually measured by community ties, have been a key topic of discussion.  Community ties provide social support, foster social relations, and facilitate social capital among residents in a community.  They also facilitate a sense of attachment to the community, encouraging a commitment to local institutions and involvement in community activities.  Two major hypotheses have guided the discussion of community ties in the literature: the race/ethnic homogeneity hypothesis, and the integration hypothesis.  The race/ethnicity homogeneity hypothesis suggests that the larger co-ethnic proportion in a community promotes community ties, while the integration hypothesis suggests that length of residency in the community facilitates community ties.  Though there are many publications on these two hypotheses related to community ties, few of them have considered several significant changes in society.  First, we know little about how the hypotheses are relevant to the current population of immigrants who come from diverse social and demographic backgrounds.  It has been well documented that the representation of immigrants has grown rapidly in major North American cities.  Second, as cities become more multi-ethnic, little is known of how the two hypotheses relate to different racial and ethnic groups.   In this study, we merged the 2008 General Social Survey with the 2006 Canadian census to explore how co-ethnic composition and duration of residence in a community are related to community ties.  The findings suggest that, in a multi-ethnic context, co-ethnic proportion in the community is no longer associated with overall community ties for minority members and immigrants.   However, our findings show that the association between residing for a longer time in a community and overall community ties is still applicable today.