Modeling and Measuring Social Cohesion using Methods of Computational Social Science › view all

Online workshop

July 12, 2021 - 14:00-17:30h
Online (via Zoom)
Series: BIGSSS Summer & Winter Schools

This workshop is a precursor to the CSS Summer School and Research Incubator on Social Cohesion (July 4-15, 2022) in Groningen (The Netherlands). The research incubator collects eight research projects about social cohesion using methods of computational social science.  

Maintaining and enhancing social cohesion is a key challenge for modern societies. It manifests as a goal in the treaties of the European Union as well as on the agendas of most political parties. The concept of cohesion is notoriously vague and has been criticized for being a “quasi-concept” which cannot be quantified and often serves as something abstract to which any arbitrary policy can be related to. Nevertheless, its ubiquity as a policy goal makes attempts to quantify and analyze it a key challenge for public policy making. 

The goal of this online workshop is more conceptual clarity about defining, modeling, and measuring social cohesion. Many project leaders and lecturers of the school 2022 are invited to provide their ideas and questions related to their planned projects. 

The question will be addressed from different angles. 

  1. Multidimensional measurement concepts of cohesion indicators on national or regional levels based mostly on large scale representative surveys. 
  2. From a network perspective, high social cohesion can be conceptualized as a balance of close-knit, positive relations among individuals, on the one hand, and positive connectivity of society as a whole without antagonist subpartitions, on the other hand. 
  3. From an attitude and norms perspective, cohesion can be conceived either as  consensus on core societal norms and attitudes or (in a weaker sense) as the absence of attitude polarization. Both directions need further clarification on what is at the core and what is polarization



12 July, 14:00-17:30 h (CET)



Introductory Talk & Discussion

Klaus Boehnke: The measurement concept of the social cohesion radar


Keynote & Discussion

James Moody: A deep dive into structural cohesion, including differences with standard community detection




Flash Talks (15 min each)

Jan Lorenz: Social Cohesion and Consensus, Polarization, Fragmentation, Sectarianism

Michael Mäs & Andreas Flache: Opinions and networks: on the relation between two core aspects of cohesion

Wahideh Achbari: Generalized Trust as a Proxy for Social Cohesion? A Survey Item in Search of a Concept

Seth Frey: How communities understand and pursue their own cohesion online


General Discussion & Closing


The workshop is organized by Jan Lorenz, Michael Mäs and Andreas Flache.

If you want to participate please send an email to and briefly state your interest.