Posts Tagged ‘Social Cohesion’
I came across the work of Onnik Krikorian awhile back. He is an Armenia-based British journalist who has done some inspiring work on coexistence in the South Caucusus. He is especially interested in how social media tools (like Facebook) can be used to bridge divides in this region, especially between Azeri’s and Armenians. Krikorian is optimistic, but the debate still rages on whether these tools create understanding or more polarization. As an article last year from The Economist points out, people tend to stay with their own identity groups across the Internet. I’ve done a fair bit of research myself on this topic. My conclusion is that there is a lot more bonding among like-minded groups happening online vs. bridging across divides. Needless to say, I am hoping for more innovations on the latter!
I had the opportunity to attend a USAID conference this past week on Knowledge Management (KM). There was a lot of discussion on what tools are being used to measure outcomes and better ways to share learning. But, at a broader level, what are the objectives of KM? In a break-out session on this topic, someone surmised that it was about building trust for cooperative action. “Absolutely,” I thought.
The emphasis on building “social capital” was also mentioned in this discussion. I spend a lot of time thinking about this concept, and the related one of “social cohesion.” These concepts seem so critical, but I rarely hear them in development discourses. Can projects be sustainable without this foundation? If you have anything to add, or good resources on this topic, please share them. And, check out the latest case study posted on “Visions of Integration” in Columbia, Maryland!