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Demythologising social cohesion: Towards a practical theological vision

Stephanus F. de Beer

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 35, No 2 (2014), 12 pages. doi: 10.4102/ve.v35i2.1344

Submitted: 11 March 2014
Published:  06 August 2014


This article considers the topical issue of social cohesion. It seeks to demythologise the issuebringing it into critical conversation with eight related categories. It proposes that a vision ofa socially cohesive society should employ all eight categories as parallel and complementarystrategies. Secondly, it proposes a practical theological vision of social cohesion that will notonly embrace these eight categories but will root itself in a spirituality of the table, informedby a vision of the oikos of God, seeking shalom in the oikos and doing so through four strategicmoments of engagement.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article indicates that socialcohesion requires an integrated approach of different strategies, not competing butcomplementing each other. Social cohesion requires interdisciplinary, intradisciplinary andtransdisciplinary research and action. For example, exploring ways in which land redistributioninhibits or contributes to social cohesion requires multiple stakeholders and disciplinesdiscerning together. The proposed practical theological vision implies new categories to beincluded in curricula and practical theological discourse for it to contribute meaningfully notonly to the current debate but also to practices fostering a socially cohesive society.

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Author affiliations

Stephanus F. de Beer, Centre for Contextual Ministry, University of Pretoria, South Africa


social cohesion; social capital; social inclusion; social justice; citizenship; restitution; reconciliation; haling; land redistribution


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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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