Taylor, Joanna, Twigg, Liz and Mohan, John
Diversity or disadvantage? Using the British crime survey to explore the impact of ethnic diversity and multiple deprivation on dimensions of collective efficacy across small areas of England
Environment and Planning A, 42, (6), . (doi:10.1068/a42287).
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Recent debates have suggested that increasing social diversity within western economies is associated with adverse social consequences such as loss of community and decline of civic society, including an erosion of collective efficacy (i.e. shared expectations of and mutual engagement by residents in social control). In the UK and US, these debates have been given impetus by concerns about the effects on community life of growing ethnic heterogeneity. Here there is an assumption that heterogeneity undermines social cohesion and makes the established population less willing to share resources, trust fellow citizens and eventually “hunker down” and withdraw from collective life. To date there are few studies that have examined this in detail across England at the small area level. The research presented here explores this terrain by exploiting information from the British Crime Survey on two recognised dimensions of collective efficacy, namely social cohesion and trust, and informal social control. Multivariate, multilevel models are used to determine the importance of individual and area characteristics in the possible explanation of these outcomes, paying particular attention to the relative importance of neighbourhood disadvantage over and above neighbourhood diversity. Results suggest that both diversity and disadvantage are statistically associated with reduced levels of social cohesion and trust, and informal social control but greater substantive importance is attached to neighbourhood disadvantage.
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