Presentation on theme: "Towards and interdisciplinary theory of social solidarity Paul de Beer AIAS/UvA Research Seminar May 11, 2012."— Presentation transcript:
Towards and interdisciplinary theory of social solidarity Paul de Beer AIAS/UvA Research Seminar May 11, 2012
Research problem and question Problem: What are the consequences of increasing heterogeneity of the population, caused by immigration and ageing, for the public support for informal and formal solidarity? Questions: Which conditions and circumstances encourage or impede the willingness of citizens to act out of solidarity with fellow citizens who differ from them with respect to age and ethnicity?
What is solidarity? Definition: any act that intentionally benefits another person without any direct or guaranteed, equivalent return. Both formal (e.g., social insurance) and informal (e.g. voluntary work, informal care)
Although solidary (or pro-social) behaviour is ubiquitous, it is somewhat of a puzzle for most scientific disciplines Selfish, self-interested behaviour is considered to be normal behaviour, and solidary behaviour anomalous or aberrant behaviour Puzzle 4
Interdisciplinary theoretical framework Insights from: Sociology (e.g. mechanic vs. organic solidarity) Anthropology (the role of the gift) Social-psychology (e.g. social identity theory) Economics (solidarity as act of self-interest) Sociobiology (solidarity vs. survival of the fittest)
1.Self-regarding vs. other-regarding solidarity Depending on whether it is in the (long-term) interest of the subject him/herself to act solidary 2.Particularistic vs. generalized solidarity Depending on whether the object of a solidary act is a particular person or an anonymous member of a group Two common distinctions 6
Empathic solidarity – Similarity facilitates empathy – But difference (in need) is reason to act solidary Internalized normative solidarity – Restricted to in-group members – But group members may differ in many respects Solidarity and social distance (1) 8
Externalized normative solidarity – Based on mutual dependence, caused by differences between individuals (e.g. division of labour) – But too big differences may reduce interdependencies Reciprocal solidarity – Based on differentiation between individuals – But mutual trust is precondition and assumes some similarity Solidarity and social distance (2) 9
Solidarity is often based on similarity in one dimension and differentiation in another dimension Thus no univocal, linear relationship between solidarity and social distance But both too much similarity and too much difference can hinder solidarity Conclusion 10
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