Possibilities and Constraints of Engaging Solidarity in Citizenship

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* Article: Jelena Vasiljević. The possibilities and constraints of engaging solidarity in citizenship. FILOZOFIJA I DRUŠTVO XXVII (2), 2016

URL = http://www.doiserbia.nb.rs/img/doi/0353-5738/2016/0353-57381602373V.pdf


Abstract

"In a broader sense, this article is interested in solidarity as a politically operational concept. To be able to answer more general questions – like What does it mean to base a political community on the principles of solidarity? Can acts of solidarity be used not only to help (support) others, but with the aim to change power relations and constitute new political orders as well? – we must first situate solidarity in relation to some already established frameworks of thinking about the political community. It is within theories and models of citizenship that I want to situate my exploration of the political value of solidarity in this paper. Firstly, if we want to go beyond isolated gestures and actions of solidarity, to question its general capacities for political reordering, we need to firmly anchor it in broad concepts that capture the ideals and visions of political community. Without a doubt, citizenship is one such concept. Secondly, there is hardly a theory or approach to citizenship that does not presuppose some aspects of solidarity as foundational. Finally, and closely related to the previous point, citizenship and solidarity, although often conceptually intertwined, form a paradoxical duo, reflecting further potential paradoxes that may arise from endeavours to engage solidarity as a political principle. In short, citizenship is a simultaneously inclusive and exclusive notion, incorporating the idea that some sort of boundary encircles a body of citizens (most often, but not exclusively, nation-state boundaries), despite the fact that solidarity loses much of its meaning when expected to operate and be exercised within certain imposed limits."