This paper offers an overview of current literature and best practice in terms of promoting social cohesion with a focus on how this relates to religious diversity. Its focus is Southeast Asia, but it explores this within a globalised context. It sets out some issues concerning how diversity is related to and experienced, before considering how we can conceptualise social cohesion in terms of religious diversity, offering three aspects as part of a contextual and down-to-earth descriptor. Tensions and issues which arise and counter social cohesion in contemporary societies are then noted, before postcolonial and decolonial theory is addressed as it may affect thinking through these issues. Finally, four themes that may be seen as key in promoting social cohesion are discussed: narratives, youth, dialogue, and leadership. The paper does not propose, within the limits of the space available, to offer a definitional survey of all issues; rather, it seeks to promote a contextualised debate and discussion of social cohesion in relation to religious diversity in the Southeast Asian context and to suggest a pathway towards thinking this.
Last updated on 24/07/2020