What makes a meaningful interaction that builds social cohesion?

Jeni Vine
Jeni Vine
PhD student
Urban inequalities and social justice
Jeni's research looks at how to build social cohesion through meaningful interaction.

Supervised by Ryan Powell and Dr Paula Meth.

My research aims to better understand what makes a ‘meaningful interaction’ that can build social cohesion in neighbourhoods in the UK that are primarily white, working class and to work towards a complex realist lens for applying social cohesion interventions. The ethnographic and action research data was collected in three neighbourhoods in Sheffield between 2018-19.

Research questions:
1. What are the dominant neighbourhood discourses that frame the subjectivities of local people in deprived working class neighbourhoods around Sheffield that inform the city’s cohesion challenges?

2. What interventions do people living and/or working in the neighbourhoods perceive to have succeeded in encouraging an interest in cohesion building and what interventions have undermined any interest?

3. What do local people consider ‘meaningful interactions’ in relation to building or undermining community cohesion and how are these linked to historical factors, inequality and spatial and technological factors?

4. How does a complex realist lens contribute to understanding social cohesion in primarily white, working class neighbourhoods in the UK and beyond?

I am studying for a PhD part-time while co-ordinating the Sheffield Cohesion Advisory Group, convening the Yorkshire and Humber Health Stream of Sanctuary and providing mentoring, particularly to people integrating into life in the UK from refugee backgrounds. I am also involved in community development in Latin America. I am a professional member of the International Association of Process Oriented Psychologists and Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I hold MAs in Conflict Resolution and Organisational Change (Process Work Institute, Portland, Oregon, USA) and Cultural Policy and Management (Sheffield Hallam University). I obtained my first degree in Psychology in 1982 at the University of York.

  • Founder member of Action Research Peers, encouraging the development of action research at both Sheffield's universities.