Cohesion and the ICA Conference

International Communication Association (ICA) 2023

Recently the upcoming paper Measuring the Rhetoric of Solidarity in Civil Society – How Voluntary Organizations Negotiate Social Cohesion in Their Public Communication has been accepted to be presented at the annual conference of the ICA (International Communication Association) in Toronto. Researchers Dr. Rico Neumann and Prof. Dr. Barbara Pfetsch will present the paper by the WP3-Team in Toronto from 25-29 May 2023.

This year’s conference theme centers around authenticity. How has it become a variable, rather than a constant, in public discourses all around the globe? Under the topic Reclaiming Authenticity in Communication scholars will examine the implications of these developments for politics, culture, and social relations.

Upcoming Publication: Measuring the Rhetoric of Solidarity in Civil Society

The long-term goal of Measuring the Rhetoric of Solidarity in Civil Society is to create a Cohesion-Index. The researchers have developed an empirical measure to analyze the different manifestations of social cohesions. This measure was based on three theoretical dimensions:

  1. Social relations
  2. Connectedness
  3. Orientation towards the common good,

which then formed the overall measure of strength of social cohesion.

These measures were then applied to external communications. The team used the websites of nearly 800 civil society organizations (CSOs) in Germany. The researchers found a fair amount of variation in all measures. This enabled them to analyze which types of CSOs negotiate social cohesion in what way.

Social Cohesion discourse among different CSOs

When combining content analytical data with organizational survey data from a previous paper (The Discursive Constitution of Social Cohesion) the researchers were able to find connections between organizational characteristics and the CSO’s solidarity rhetoric.

Media-oriented organizations and sports clubs for example are more reluctant to partake in social cohesions discourse. Whereas politically active organizations that directly address marginalized communities engage in these discourses more often. Additionally, CSO’s solidarity communications show a connection to characteristics like location, the domain of activity, and specific addresses.

A previous version of the paper titled The Discursive Constitution of Social Cohesion: How Civil Society Organizations Portray Community and the Common Good was presented in November 2022 at the annual WAPOR conference in Dubai. It was presented under the session on Political Behavior, Participation, and Culture in Survey Research.