Recently, various attempts have been undertaken to develop a comprehensive social cohesion index to monitor the social progress of society. However, classical sociological theories predict that contemporary modern communities function according to a different type of social cohesion than traditional communities. From both a theoretical and a methodological perspective, it can be questioned whether social cohesion can be summarised into one single index. In this article, an extensive dataset of social cohesion indicators is analysed, including indicators of religious involvement, social inclusion, crime and voter turnout, for 308 local communities in the Flemish region of Belgium. Based on first- and second-order factor analyses, it is concluded that it is impossible to construct one single indicator for social cohesion when taking the multidimensionality of the concept into account. While the traditional form prevails in rural areas, it does not coincide with a distinct modern form that prevails in urban areas.
- CIVIC ENGAGEMENT