Solidarity has been one of the main driving forces behind the process of integration since the creation of the European Communities. It is directly expressed in the founding treaties and still ... read more
Solidarity has been one of the main driving forces behind the process of integration since the creation of the European Communities. It is directly expressed in the founding treaties and still present in the legal framework of the European Union. Although the idea is also widespread within the two great European political traditions - social and Christian democracy - it has been so far more a political buzzword than actual state of affairs. First in the aftermath of the on-going economic and currency crisis it has become more tangible, as it was used as a justification and ground for specific assistance and bail-out policies undertaken by the EU.
Solidarity and terms closely related to it like fraternity, integration, social bonding, social division of labour, social trust, empathy, social obligation, interdependence, cooperation and similar can be found in most sociological, but also in many philosophical, political and economic theories. Solidarity is one of the key concepts of classic sociology, present in the works of Comte, Durkheim, Marx, Weber or Parsons, and defined as the main integrative force holding societies together. Solidarity can be approached by sociology from numerous perspectives - from functionalist theories, through social integration theories, to theories of social justice in the macro-perspective, to individualistic theories like rational choice or exchange theories, which engage on the micro-level with the question why people decide to cooperate with one another or to act in favour of others.
The class aims on reconstructing the concept of European solidarity from both theoretical and empirical perspectives and discuss its dimensions, functions and boundaries, as well as the conditions of its inception and strengthening.
Crow Graham (2002). Social Solidarities. Theories, identities and social change. Buckingham and Philadelphia: Open University Press.
Ellison Marion (2012) (ed.). Reinventing Social Solidarity across Europe. Bristol: The Policy Press.
Stjernø Steinar (2004). Solidarity in Europe. The History of an Idea. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Regular and active participation, reading the assigned texts
One oral presentation
Seminar paper (3,000 words) or 3 response papers (à 1,000 words)