Official discourse in Singapore on social cohesion is often framed along the broad parameters of achieving racial and religious harmony. Many policies – formal and informal – and several laws evolved to manage these two aspects of society. Yet, as Singapore developed and with a much more complex socioeconomic environment both domestically and externally, there is perhaps a need to re-look the discourse and framework for discussing social cohesion. This working paper takes a critical look at how the issue of social cohesion is framed in academic literature and policy discussions in Europe and the OECD, and tries to develop a broader analytical framework that could be useful in the Singapore context as it struggles with the multiple fault lines in society (beyond race and religion) that have emerged in the last decade or so.
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