Claiming solidarity: A multilevel discursive reconstruction of solidarity

European Journal of Social Theory 25 (3):366-385 (2022)
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Abstract

Solidarity is one of the central concepts in social theory and has gained much attention due to the multiple challenges that the EU has been facing the last decade and due to the most recent COVID-19 pandemic. Although the debate on the nature and conditions of solidarity has been revitalized, there remains a large variety in how to conceptualize solidarity. In contrast to other approaches, we do not conceive solidarity as normative concept, but as descriptive–analytical one. Therefore, we provide a theory-based definition that is prone to capture the empirical dimensions of solidarity. Accounting for the dynamic and interactive character of solidarity as subject to permanent societal and political renegotiation, we conceptualize solidarity from a discourse perspective and follow a multilevel design breaking down the understandings of solidarity on different levels. This approach contributes to the research of solidarity that is interested to capturing the ‘real world’ dimensions of solidarity.

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