Theorising Solidarity (Global Justice: Theory, Practice, Rhetoric) - Workshop and Special Issue with the journal Global Justice: Theory, Practice, Rhetoric

February 11, 2022
Centre for Contemporary Political Theory, POLIS, University of Leeds

University of Leeds
United Kingdom

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University of Leeds
University of Leeds

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Workshop and Special Issue with the journal Global Justice: Theory, Practice, Rhetoric

Workshop: February 11th 2022, University of Leeds, UK (in-person, covid-permitting)

Special Issue: 2023

What kind of normative relation is solidarity in a globalised and fragmented world? What does it mean to speak of, or to theorise, global solidarity? Why should we care about solidarity at a global or transnational level?

There has been some renewed interest in theorising solidarity as a moral and political relation in recent years, e.g., in Sally Scholz’s Political Solidarity (Penn, 2008) and Avery Kolers’ A Moral Theory of Solidarity (Oxford University Press, 2016). At the same time, activist and academic responses to a range of global challenges, from climate change to refugee issues to the rise of populism, invoke calls for greater solidarity. Conversely, some critical responses to cosmopolitan thought are deeply sceptical about the possibility of deep or meaningful solidarity across cultures and indeed generations. Feminist scholars and scholars of neo-imperialism/decolonialism have been particularly sensitive to the problems of imbalances of power and the normative implications of speaking for others in appeals to transnational solidarity.

Yet, solidarity is largely under-theorised in many of these debates; it has often been both supported and dismissed without close interrogation of what historically, conceptually, and normatively solidarity means. Solidarity has different resonances and different lineages in traditions of thought spanning Marxist and critical theory, feminist theory, and critical race theory, and other fields, which do not always engage one another, nor are these diverse conceptualisations of solidarity much explored in debates about the absence or potential of solidarity in relation to global challenges. This relative neglect of the study of solidarity itself is surprising given that activists and scholars alike speak consistently in terms of solidarity and attribute motivational power to it.

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