What undermines solidarity? Four approaches and their implications for contemporary political theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Solidarity is crucial for realizing justice, securing public goods, and reducing domination. Yet there have been few theoretical studies of its threats and vulnerabilities. In this paper I fill this lacuna, outlining four approaches to what undermines solidarity and considering their implications for contemporary political theory. I begin by reviewing the empirical literature on solidarity, noting that its focus on diversity and individuation has yielded inconclusive results. I then develop four alternative threats to solidarity by drawing from the history of political thought, social theory, and religious studies: interpersonal dependence (Jean-Jacques Rousseau); radical evil (Immanuel Kant); self-dissolution (Émile Durkheim); and moral spectatorship (Emmanuel Levinas). Taking these threats into account, I conclude, should significantly impact our normative theorizing about solidarity. In particular, it should encourage a research agenda that attends to solidarity’s affective, esthetic, and non-rational sources.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)601-615
Number of pages15
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Volume21
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Solidarity
  • commitment
  • dependence
  • reason
  • religion
  • responsibility

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'What undermines solidarity? Four approaches and their implications for contemporary political theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this