The Democratization of Solidarity through Science (in Europe and Beyond)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


The challenges faced by democratic systems around the world are becoming more complex and more radical than ever. Climate change, automatization of the production process, and the recent pandemics are generating severe negative effects on large parts of the global population. Therefore, we are witnessing a growing appeal for social and environmental responsibility toward the people in need and the planet. In this sense, the role that solidarity measures can play in addressing these grand challenges has become predomi¬nant. However, it is not entirely clear what form these solidarity measures should and could take within the democratic societies of the twenty-first century. Solidarity is an ambiguous term that over the years has taken on dif¬ferent meanings, often in a muddled relationship with one another. Its close dependence on the democratic model of which it is an original pillar, and the changes that the implementation of democratic processes has undergone, con-tribute to an exegetical uncertainty regarding the translation of the concept of solidarity into concrete practices.
Therefore, it is important to address questions concerning what it means nowadays for solidarity to be democratic and what kind of solidarity we should implement to tackle current societal challenges. The issue is then to highlight and maintain the intrinsic relationship between an appropriate democratic model for solidarity and a conception of solidarity that can benefit current democratic systems.
As solidarity is a polyform concept that has undergone significant changes over the last two centuries, I will first outline a reconstruction of the recent history of solidarity in Europe to identify its main features, the limits it has encountered, and the improvements it has undergone. It will emerge that the development of solidarity coincides with the related understanding of societal needs and the political ways of addressing them.
On the basis of indications coming from recent debates, I will then propose a complementary understanding of solidarity as formulated by John Dewey and recently refined by authors such as Axel Honneth and Roberto Frega. I will then match this model to the implementation of solidarity in research and innovation strategies in India. I will finally conclude by advocating the adop¬tion of strategies of reflexive cooperation for the implementation of current policies of solidarity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Solidarity: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
EditorsFrancesco Tava, Noëlle Quénivet
Place of PublicationColchester
ISBN (Print)9781910259153
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2023


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