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On solidarity

Melissaris, Emmanuel (2017) On solidarity. LSE Law, Society and Economy Working Papers (10/2017). London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Law, London, UK.

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Identification Number: 10.2139/ssrn.2980766


When all else fails–justice, law, the institutional structure–solidarity is invoked as a fundamental principle in political discourse. Yet, such appeals to solidarity often determine radically divergent courses of action. This paper is animated by two intuitions: first, that solidarity cannot be divisive, as the ways in which it is invoked would suggest. Second, that solidarity does indeed lie at the foundation of our political relations, framing and supporting all else. The article attempts primarily to resist the conflation of solidarity with other concepts or from any normative antecedents. It will do so by targeting some central conceptions of solidarity available in the literature. Secondly, it will identify the paradigmatic locus of emergence of solidarity in the space left by the failure or limitations of institutions, while arguing that solidarity is not exhausted in these moments. Third, it will begin to articulate (rather tentatively, for the lack of space) a way of thinking about solidarity as a very basic relation that is political in a fully-fledged sense. It will also begin to explore the practical implications of this conception. My hope is that thinking of solidarity in the terms suggested here can frame actual solidarity practices as naturally as possible and be of some service to our political communities.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author
Divisions: Law
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2018 13:48
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2020 23:07

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