1. In discourse analysis and stylistics, how a text is connected together linguistically (phonologically, grammatically, lexically, semantically); its internal structure. Cohesive ties include conjunctions, pronouns, anaphora, repetition, ellipsis, and alliteration: compare coherence.
2. (social cohesion) In sociology, social policy, and political science, the extent to which society holds together as a whole: the issue of social order. It concerns the nature and strength of social ties, social networks, consensus, cultural integration, prosocial values, and a sense of community. There is a debate over whether society is becoming more cohesive or whether the public sphere is being eroded by such factors as individualism and a relative increase in weak ties (see also public and private spheres). This is related to the extent to which a culture is collectivistic or individualistic and to the degree of cultural homogeneity or diversity within a society. An emphasis on cohesion and consensus tends to be associated with a functionalist perspective and conflict theorists stress that conflict and contradictions are inherent in society.
3. (group cohesion) The extent and nature of social ties and relations, and of trust and reciprocity, within a group.