The Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) was born in 2007 following a conference on Social Cohesion in Europe at the Americas. (Koff, 2009) The rich discussions addressed numerous social cohesion issues in the aforementioned continents, such as human rights, social vulnerability, risk and welfare, environmental challenges and social cohesion, the relationship between borders, states and regions and urban violence. While the relevance of each of these issues to social cohesion was clear from the outset of our discussions, understanding their contributions to the conceptualization of social cohesion was far more difficult. In fact, these debates raised numerous questions that underlie social cohesion debates: What relationships exist between rights, responsibilities and cohesion? For what protections and services are governments responsible vis-à-vis their citizens under social cohesion policies? What relationships exist between social cohesion, risk and vulnerability? How does natural resource management affect social cohesion? How is social cohesion affected by territorial scales? And how can social cohesion address urban marginalization and violence?
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