A Framework for Solidarity in the Achievement of Social and Civil Rights

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Tinka SCHUBERT, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain
Marta SOLER GALLART, Department of Sociology, University of Barcelona, Spain
Over the last decade we have experienced both an economic and social crisis, involving a crisis of transnational solidarity in Europe, along with mistrust of institutions and rising antidemocratic and populist movements. However, we have also seen increasing civil society and citizens' initiatives acting in solidarity, helping people to manage difficult living conditions, cover their basic needs or guarantee their social rights. The Horizon2020 research project SOLIDUS -Solidarity in European Societies: Empowerment, Social Justice and Citizenship (2015-2018) analyses these solidary actions by the citizenship in different social spheres (i.e. employment, housing, health, education and civic engagement). In the present paper, we will discuss solidarity within the framework of a theory of justice and ethical commitment. Reviewing the debates between Habermas and Rawls on guaranteeing civil rights and liberties, we will discuss the basic moral foundations that lie behind the analysis of these solidarity initiatives. Whereas Habermas argues that Rawls focuses on the political nature of justice and equity as a mechanism to understand pluralism in current societies, Rawls’ concept of moral subject involves equitable collaboration between citizens who are politically autonomous. Similarly, Rawls emphasizes the political dimension that Habermas’ conceptualization has in his analysis of justice and equity, although he states that it is a mistake to subordinate citizens’ wellbeing to their involvement in public life. Beyond this normative theoretical discussion this paper will also discuss a framework of analysis for grassroots organizing, social movements and subopolitics (approaching authors such as Beck, Tilly, Ganz or Touraine) and their contribution to understanding paths to strengthen civil rights from below.