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Solidarity - a precondition for successful democratic integration?

Andreas Busen
Universität Hamburg
Andreas Busen
Universität Hamburg
Open Panel

Abstract

A dominant strand of normative responses to problems of political integration are deliberative models of democracy, according to which political dialogue between ‘old’ citizenry and ‘newcomers’ would result in agreement on inclusive terms of citizenship and thus a high level of integration. Yet, deliberative accounts face a number of unresolved issues, including the boundary problem (who is to take part in the deliberation?), the potential exclusion of arguments (which arguments are admitted into the deliberation?), and most importantly the question of a common identity (will agreement about the (legal) terms of citizenship yield mutual identification?). One concept which several authors (Brunkhorst, Gould, Pensky and Scholz, among others) have recently put forward to answer to these problems is that of solidarity. Very broadly speaking, the idea is that, even before deliberation about the (legal) terms of citizenship, people may develop ways of relating to ‘strangers’, i.e. people who do not yet share their common identity, which will allow them to emphatically relate to their problems, interests or points of view. This will in turn make them respond to their claims in a more receptive manner, and might even make them engage politically for the cause of ‘strangers’. As accounts of solidarity are still mostly neglected in debates about citizenship and integration, in my presentation I would like to first present an overview of the recent accounts of solidarity, to then discuss in which way they provide a helpful addition to existing accounts of democratic citizenship and integration. This will include taking a closer look at the preconditions for the emergence of relations of solidarity, as well as evaluating whether solidarity is something we may only hope for, or whether there might be measures to facilitate a solidarity-generating environment – possibly not only within national borders, but also on the EU level.