Original Research

Demythologising social cohesion: Towards a practical theological vision

Stephanus F. de Beer
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 35, No 2 | a1344 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v35i2.1344 | © 2014 Stephanus F. de Beer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 March 2014 | Published: 06 August 2014


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Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

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1. Diversity: Negotiating difference in Christian communities
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doi: 10.4102/hts.v72i1.3525