Back to the future of community cohesion? Learning from New Labour
New Labour developed an ambitious programme to address what it saw as increasing social divisions in British society caused, primarily, by ethnic and cultural difference. Developed in 2001, community cohesion became embedded in many other social policy areas, especially regarding social inclusion, a commitment to empowering both individuals and communities, and developing a sense of British identity compatible with a rapidly globalising world. Though it was marginalised during the Coalition and Conservative governments, rising uncertainty and increasing division in the current period warrants a re-assessment of the utility of a discrete social cohesion policy framework. This chapter assesses New Labour’s approach to community cohesion, drawing out lessons from its use in the New Labour years and asks whether policymakers should return to a focus on social cohesion and what, if anything, should be done differently in a uncertain political and social landscape.
social cohesion, New Labour, Integration, Ethnicity, Inequality