PHI­NEO theme report: Being strong together!”

What saves our democ­ra­cy? Social cohe­sion, with­out com­pro­mis­ing! But what is social cohe­sion, why is it so much under scruti­ny and, most impor­tant­lyl, what can be done to change it?

The 19th PHI­NEO theme report Being strong togeth­er” deals with the cur­rent debate on social cohe­sion in our coun­try. It sheds light on pos­si­ble caus­es and gives rec­om­men­da­tions for strength­en­ing the cohe­sion of our society.

At the same time, the theme report presents the new PHI­NEO Seal of Impact projects. The seal is award­ed to non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions and projects for their demon­stra­bly effec­tive soci­etal engagement.


Theme report: “Being strong together”

Strengthening social cohesion. Projects, quality criteria & funding tips

Social cohe­sion is the sum of all social ties between the indi­vid­ual mem­bers of a soci­ety. There are three dif­fer­ent types of social bonds:

  • Bond­ing: Close social rela­tion­ships between peo­ple who have many things in com­mon. These strong and resilient bonds cre­ate iden­ti­ty and pro­vide support.
  • Bridg­ing: Bonds between peo­ple or groups with dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter­is­tics. These rela­tion­ships enable dia­logue and the exchange of dif­fer­ent per­son­al expe­ri­ences, opin­ions and skills.
  • Link­ing: Rela­tion­ships between the pop­u­la­tion and super­or­di­nate insti­tu­tions or their rep­re­sen­ta­tives (e.g. gov­ern­ment, author­i­ties, schools) These links pro­mote par­tic­i­pa­tion in demo­c­ra­t­ic process­es and give peo­ple the oppor­tu­ni­ty to active­ly shape their own lives.
  • Social inequal­i­ty is regard­ed as one of the great­est threats to social cohe­sion. It weak­ens the feel­ing of togeth­er­ness, reduces the trust of peo­ple and groups among them­selves and pre­vents the for­ma­tion of networks.

A good bal­ance between all kinds of social ties is impor­tant for a strong cohe­sion in a society.

The PHI­NEO theme report explains the rea­sons for this and how a good bal­ance of all three types of social bonds can be achieved. Among oth­er things, we recommend …

  • demand-ori­ent­ed sup­port in regions with struc­tur­al weakness
  • the pro­mo­tion of project work AND orga­ni­za­tion­al structures
  • pub­lic com­mit­ment to the pro­mo­tion of democ­ra­cy and diver­si­ty, because this sets an exam­ple and is an incen­tive for others.

The com­mit­ment of the twen­ty-five new Seal of Impact” projects can also be includ­ed in the mod­el of Bond­ing, Bridg­ing and Link­ing. The theme report presents in brief por­traits work and impact of these projects, thus round­ing off the rec­om­men­da­tions for those who pro­mote social cohesion.

On 10 Decem­ber 2019, the theme report was pre­sent­ed in Berlin and the projects have been award­ed the Seal of Impact.