Social Cohesion: The Missing Link in Regional Integration?
Hosted by the Department of Politics, University of Johannesburg
Rustenburg, South Africa
30 November-3 December 2011

Final Programme 

Call for Papers: Deadline 10 May 2011 

Conference Synopsis: Social cohesion exists when the relationship among different individuals and groups within society as well as the relationship between the state and civil society are characterized by a set of attitudes and norms that includes a sense of belonging, of trust and of a willingness to participate and help. Regional integration, in turn, refers to increasing interactions between territorial entities in the political, economic, security, social and cultural domains, leading to the creation of rules and institutions and the formation of new identities and political communities. Regional integration can occur between different areas within a country, specific areas of adjacent countries, a number of neighbouring countries, and all states in a particular continent or geographic region. The key question to be addressed is whether social cohesion (or elements thereof) is a prerequisite for or a product of regional integration schemes. More concretely, does greater regional integration among the states of Southern Africa, for instance, require more social cohesion between the different national populations, or will higher levels of social cohesion be a consequence of deeper integration?

There will be three keynote panels, with pre-selected central presentations:

  • Panel 1: “Factors influencing social cohesion in different societies”
  • Panel 2: “Levels of regional integration”
  • Panel 3: “The interplay of social cohesion and regional integration”

RISC’s working groups, in association with the RISC conference organizers, will also convene six open panels. Paper proposals are invited for any of these six panels (explained in the Call for Papers). Proposals must have a title and an abstract of no more than 250 words and be sent directly to panel coordinators (explained in the Call for Papers) by 10 May 2011. Please keep a copy of your proposal for reference purposes. You will be notified by the end of May if your abstract has been accepted for the conference.

The conference allows for presentations made in English, Spanish or French, with simultaneous translation being provided by the conference organizers.

The RISC Consortium will pay for four nights’ hotel accommodation and meals of all speakers (one per paper) participating in the conference. Depending on the availability of funds, a fifth night’s accommodation might be paid for participants from abroad. Travel arrangements are the responsibility of conference participants or their home institutions. The RISC Consortium does not have grants available for either international or domestic travel to and from Johannesburg (the nearest major airport to the conference venue outside the town of Rustenburg).

General enquiries should be sent to: risc@uj.ac.za.