Communities of Solidarity. Searching for Social Commitment in an Individualized World
The session “Communities of Solidarity” highlights social practices where people socialize and organize themselves in joint projects. Around the world this includes neighborhood assemblies, co-housing projects, community gardens, community supported agriculture, coops, political groups, activists and many other manifestations of mutual help, support and empowerment. These micro-practices of a “new” social commitment have been developing against the background of individualization and pluralization combined with playing off the supremacy of personal interests versus the apparent destabilization of the common interest with traditional formations of social relations and belonging. At the same time that neoliberalism addresses the responsibility of the individual and the state withdraws from institutional solidarity, heterogeneous associations emerge in various forms constituting small communities of solidarity.
In this session, we want to elaborate questions concerning research projects on community building, sharing economy, multigenerational convergences (in affinity and difference) that illustrate both success and failure, in a constant process of struggle for solidarity, social commitment and transformative alternatives. The aim is to sharpen the conceptual view on empirical examples as well as a theoretical reflection of communities of solidarity. Thus, we explicitly focus on community practices, on decision-making, on democratic procedures, non-hierarchical ways of organizing and a conceptual openness. Beyond that, the ways that these super-local communities contribute to a more global solidarity coming to the fore will be addressed.