In 2001, civil disturbances took place in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham. After these events community cohesion was introduced and this concept has recently become progressively at the forefront in public policy debates. The term was effectively developed as a direct response to the civil disturbances in 2001 as Oldham, Burnley and the City of Bradford were at the epicentre of disorder at this time. The civil disturbances have widely been understood by central government as resulting from a lack of social cohesion. The concept of community cohesion is seen, by central government, to be the solution to solving the issues of segregation among communities. This paper critically examines, from a policy context, the debates around community cohesion. Drawing on qualitative research conducted in Oldham in Greater Manchester, the paper presents an insight into how community cohesion is perceived by policy makers and residents.
Keywords: central government, civil disturbances, community, community cohesion, new labour, multiculturalism, local government, regeneration, Oldham, segregation, social capital and social cohesion, UK