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Social Policy and Solidarity, Orphans of the New Model of Social Cohesion

Deena White
The Canadian Journal of Sociology / Cahiers canadiens de sociologie
Vol. 28, No. 1, Special Issue on Social Cohesion in Canada (Winter, 2003), pp. 51-76
DOI: 10.2307/3341875
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3341875
Page Count: 26
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Social Policy and Solidarity, Orphans of the New Model of Social Cohesion
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Abstract

This article argues that social policies foster social cohesion through their direct contribution to a citizenship regime, referring to a stable set of civil, political and social rights, which together serve to constitute a society of equal citizens before the state. However, economic and policy transformations since the 1980's have eroded the social aspects of the Canadian citizenship regime. The government's Policy Research Initiative (PRI) has posited new grounds for social cohesion by shifting the sense of social citizenship away from its traditional association with social rights and grounding it instead in the actions and institutions of civil society. The article identifies an affinity between this model of social cohesion developed by the PRI, and the shifting policy orientation of the Canadian government, as exemplified by the direction of new social spending. Both social cohesion and citizenship are increasingly seen as "bottom-up" rather than "top-down" processes, while social policy is geared more to social regulation. /// Cet article propose que les politiques sociales engendrent la cohésion sociale par leur contribution directe au régime de citoyenneté, voulant dire un ensemble de droits civiles, politiques et sociales stable qui sert à constituer une société de citoyens égaux et de citoyennes égales devant l'État. Pourtant, des transformations économiques et politiques depuis les années 80 ont miné les aspects sociaux du régime de citoyenneté canadien. Actuellement, le Projet de recherche sur les politiques (PRP) du gouvernement fédéral propose de nouveaux fondements pour la cohésion sociale, mettant à l'écart les droits sociaux et misant plus sur les pratiques et les institutions de la société civile. Cet article fait ressortir l'affinité entre ce modèle de la cohésion sociale et les nouvelles orientations des politiques et dépenses sociales du gouvernement fédéral. Tandis que la cohésion sociale comme la citoyenneté sont dorénavant envisagées comme étant des processus provenant de la base plutôt que de l'État, les politiques sociales se penchent de plus en plus vers la régulation sociale.

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