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The nature of social cohesion? Lessons from relations between Afghan refugees and their neighbours in Pakistan

Case/country studies

Written by Simon Levine, Zaki Ullah, Mushtaq Ahmad, Asia Bibi, Rahat Iqbal, Maqsood Khan, Farah Naz, Saeed Uddin, Aaftab Ullah, Saeed Ullah Khan

Image credit:Tim Harcourt-Powell

While there has been some debate in academic and policy circles about how best to define social cohesion, less attention has been paid to understanding which aspects of social relations or social cohesion are most important to displacement-affected people, and the extent to which social cohesion is a priority in their lives.

This study of Afghan refugees in Pakistan takes this latter starting point: rather than testing theories of what determines social cohesion in a population, it undertakes the preliminary task of better understanding what matters to Afghan refugees and to the Pakistani nationals among whom they live, in the domain that could loosely fit under an umbrella of ‘social cohesion’.