Analyse & Kritik 35 (2):395-421 (2013)

Although solidarity is a key issue in sociology, surprisingly little attention has been given to the question what constitutes solidarity from a sociological perspective. In this paper I suggest a concept of solidarity which might work as a general framework for theoretical and empirical investigations. The central idea is that solidarity norms make up the core of the concept. Solidarity norms demand from their addressees that they transfer resources without compensation either to a collective or to individuals. It is argued that there are two levels of solidarity to be distinguished: the level of social systems where solidarity is manifested in solidarity norms and the level of individuals where solidarity is embedded in commitment to solidarity norms. I differentiate between four universal solidarity norms which can be found in associations on every level of social aggregation: norms of provision, of sharing, of supporting, and of loyalty
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DOI 10.1515/auk-2013-0207
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