Proceedings of the Conference on New Techniques and Technologies for Statistics pages:255-264
New Techniques and Technologies for Statistics (NTTS) of Eurostat location:Brussels, Belgium date:18-20 February 2008
One of the most abundantly used concepts in contemporary social sciences and among policy experts is 'social cohesion'. However, it is difficult to grasp how social cohesion is defined or measured. In this paper, we follow the line of reasoning of urban sociologists Kearns and Forrest (2000), who ascribed five dimensions to social cohesion. Although frequently used in theoretical discussions, methodological rigorous tests on the dimensionality of these five social cohesion dimensions are absent. Using data of the "Social Cohesion Indicators in Flanders" (SCIF) project, we investigate the dimensionality structure of social cohesion. We apply exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, together with scaling techniques to study the underlying structure of the rich set of proxy indicators and consequently, we assess whether social cohesion can be thought of as a latent concept.