Social Cohesion Survey Curaҫao: Inclusion: a view of belonginess, discrimination and interpersonal trust

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Social Cohesion Survey Curaҫao: Inclusion: a view of belonginess, discrimination and interpersonal trust

From November 2015 to January 2016 a Social Cohesion Survey (SCS) was conducted for the first time in Curaçao.
The aim of this study was to get a view of the social cohesion in Curaçao. A cohesive society is a society that works
towards the well-being of all its members, promotes inclusion, creates social involvement, stimulates participation,
promotes trust, and offers its members the opportunity of upward mobility. These aspects provide an insight in the
different components of social cohesion.


When developing a new survey it is important to look at existing theories and surveys on the topic worldwide and
to make sure that the components that were included in the survey are relevant for Curaçao (CBS, 2015). A series of
articles will be published on the different components of social cohesion, based on the results of aforementioned
survey. The current article elaborates on how the aspects of inclusion (belongingness and acceptance of
uniqueness/discrimination) and interpersonal trust relate to each other within the Curaçao context.
Contemporary societies, including Curaçao, are mostly heterogeneous. These societies consist of individuals with
different backgrounds and interests. Despite these existing differences, individuals have to work and live in
harmony with each other in order for a society to function successfully. A condition for this to be possible is that a
certain degree of trust must exist within interactions (Costa, Roe & Taillieu, 2001; Misztal, 1996; Putnam, 2000).
Unfortunately for the heterogeneous societies, the more people differ from each other, the more difficult it is to trust
one another (e.g. Hooghe, Reeskens & Stolle, 2007; Alessina & la Ferrara, 2002).


According to Deutsch (1949), cohesiveness refers to the forces that bind parts of the group together and resist
disruptive influences (in Bruhn, 2009). In other words, to achieve a certain level of cohesiveness one has to overlook
the existing differences and a certain degree of inclusion is important.
Inclusion is a component of social cohesion that entails the degree in which individuals experience a sense of
belonging to the society and have the feeling that they are accepted in their uniqueness. Belongingness is an
important aspect of inclusion because it involves the innate need of the individual to belong to a group that they
value positively (van Prooijen, Wilke & van den Bos, 2004). As one feels associated with a group one is more
willing to work together towards common goals.


Acceptance of individual uniqueness is also an important component of inclusion as it can lead to exclusion if it is
not respected. According to Hooghe, Reeskens, Stolle and Trappers (2003) ethnocentrism, racism and other feelings
of ethnic prejudice are as detrimental for the maintenance of social cohesion as the absence of generalized trust in
contemporary diverse societies.
The remainder of this article will elaborate on how the aspects of belongingness, acceptance of uniqueness and
interpersonal trust relate to each other within the Curaçao context.

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