What Is Social Solidarity? Human Rights & Collective Actions

Social solidarity is a moral concept referring to the capacity or attitude of individuals in a society to help and support each other in specific aspects of daily life.

What Is Social Solidarity

As such, social solidarity is considered a citizen’s duty, which commits us and relates us to others, and which, in this sense, is fundamental for the development and social well-being of people.

What Is Social Solidarity? Definition And Meaning

Social solidarity is horizontal, that is, it is exercised among equals, so it implies a spirit of selfless collaboration that energizes relationships between individuals in a community.

Its driving force is common interests, belonging or empathy towards a specific group, and interest in the well-being of other individuals in society who we feel are our equals.

What is solidarity and its examples?

Generally, solidarity arises from the manifest impossibility of an individual to act in isolation on the social level or, on the contrary, from the interest in finding new forms of collaboration with other individuals.

Hence, social solidarity is the daughter of a philanthropic vision of the world , in which the feeling of compassion and empathy that an individual can develop towards another, whether due to their needs, hardships or suffering, is of particular relevance.

Solidarity in Social and Political Philosophy:

For this reason, social solidarity also has a political dimension , since this is essential to engage individuals in the construction of a society where justice, dignity and equality are fundamental common goods.

On the other hand, it is important not to confuse solidarity with altruism or generosity , which are rather vertical, and which produce exchanges between those who are “above”, generous and magnanimous, and the others who are “below”, poor and needy.

Social solidarity according to Durkheim

According to the French sociologist Émile Durkheim , social solidarity is found in the collective consciousness of societies. The different social groups that make up a community need solidarity for the development of countless activities for which they must collaborate and support each other. Durkheim recognizes two types of solidarity:

  • mechanical solidarity , which occurs in a community and is based on traditional knowledge, and
  • organic solidarity , which is produced by the specialization of individuals in different types of work and knowledge, which generates great interdependence. As such, social solidarity is essential to keep societies together.

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