Solidarity pp 57-79 | Cite as

Solidarity as a Moral and Political Concept: Beyond the Liberal/Communitarian Impasse

  • Georzge Khushf
Part of the Philosophical Studies in Contemporary Culture book series (PSCC, volume 5)


Whatever its historical origin may have been, the word “solidarity” seems to have a special resonance with the needs of our day.2 For many it provides a moral and political principle that counters the individualism, atomism, and fragmentation of human life, which are jointly understood as deficiencies that arise from a classically liberal culture (Rorty, 1989; Maclntyre, 1986; Taylor, 1985, 1989, 1994; for a good overview of these thinkers and others, see Kukathas, 1986–87). Advocates of solidarity, often aligning with communitarian concerns, will similarly criticize the market, and with it the commodification of human relationships and the advancement of antagonistic human interaction seen in the division of labor and competition (Bellah, 1985; Bellah, 1991). These problems arising from the market are also attributed to liberalism, understood as the broader legal and moral framework sustaining and fostering individualism and market interactions.3 In opposition to all this, the advocates of solidarity advance the notion that all people are implicated in their identity with the interests and good of all others, and that all are likewise responsible to and for others in each individual action. They thus turn people away from individually relative accounts of value and the pursuit of self-interest, and ask them to make explicit in motivation, self-consciousness, and action their identification with the community.4


Moral Obligation Common Good Liberal State Civic Virtue Political Concept 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abrams, P. et al.: 1976, Communes, Sociology and Society,Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  2. Bellah, R.: 1985, Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  3. Bellah, R. et al 1991, ‘Taming the savage market’, The Christian Century (Sept. 18–25), 844849.Google Scholar
  4. Boxill, B.: 1991, ‘Wilson and the truly disadvantaged’, Ethics 101, 579–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Capaldi, N.: 1995, ‘From the profane to the sacred: why we need to retrieve Christian bioethics’, Christian Bioethics 1, 65–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Capaldi, N.: 1999, ‘What’s wrong with solidarity’, in this volume, pp. 39–55.Google Scholar
  7. Crumbo, C.: 1996, ‘Rally in columbia to stress solidarity’, The State, Columbia, S.C. (Jan. 27 ), B2.Google Scholar
  8. Davies, S.: 1987/88, ‘The decline of classical liberalism, 1860–1940’, Humane Studies Review 5, 15–19.Google Scholar
  9. Durkheim, E.: 1933, Division of Labor in Society, G. Simpson (trans.), Free Press, New York. Editorial: 1996, ‘Welfare: Moynihan’s council of despair,’ First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life 7, 8–10.Google Scholar
  10. Engelhardt, H. T.: 1991, Bioethics and Secular Humanism: The Search for a Common Morality, SCM Press, London and Trinity Press International, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  11. Engelhardt, H. T.: 1994, ‘Sittlichkeit and post-modernity: an Hegelian reconsideration of the state’, in H. T. Engelhardt and T. Pinkard (eds.), Hegel Reconsidered: Beyond Metaphysics and the Authoritarian State, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp. 211–224.Google Scholar
  12. Engelhardt, H. T.: 1997, Foundations of Bioethics, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford. Friedman, M.: 1982, Capitalism and Freedom, University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.Google Scholar
  13. Gans, H. J.: 1990, ‘Deconstructing the underclass: the term’s danger as a planning concept,’ Journal of the American Planning Association 56, 271–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Green, D.: 1993, Reinventing Civil Society: The Rediscovery of Welfare without Politics, Institute of Economic Affairs and Health and Welfare Unit, London.Google Scholar
  15. Hayek, F. A.: 1945, The Use of Knowledge in Society, reprint 1977, Institute for Humane Studies Reprint, Menlo Park, California.Google Scholar
  16. Hayek, F. A.: 1952, The Counter-Revolution of Science: Studies in the Abuse of Reason, reprint 1979, Liberty Press, Indianapolis.Google Scholar
  17. Hayek, F. A.: 1954, Capitalism and the Historians, University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Hayek, F. A.: 1978, New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  18. Hayek, F. A.: 1988, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, vol. 1 of The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  19. Hayek, F. A.: 1992, ‘The moral element in free enterprise’, in The Morality of Capitalism, The Foundation for Economic Education, Irvington on the Hudson, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Heilbroner, R.: 1961, The Worldly Philosophers, Simon and Schuster, New York.Google Scholar
  21. Hogg, M.: 1992, The Social Psychology of Group Cohesiveness: From Attraction to Social Identity, New York University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Ibrahim, Y.: 1994, ‘France Bans Muslim Scarf in its Schools, Says Girls’ Attire Violates Secularism’, New York Times National (Sept. 11 ), p. 5.Google Scholar
  23. Iglehart, J.: 1990, ‘Health policy report: Canada’s health care system faces its problems’, New England Journal of Medicine 322, 562–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Johnson, P.: 1990, ‘The capitalism and morality debate’, First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life 1, 18–22.Google Scholar
  25. Khushf, G.: 1991, ‘Rights, public policy and the state’, in T. Bole and W. Bondeson (eds.), The Right to Health Care, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  26. Khushf, G.: 1994, ‘Intolerant tolerance’, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 19, 161–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kukathas, C.: 1986–87, ‘Liberalism and its critics’, Humane Studies Review 4, 6–11.Google Scholar
  28. Kling, H.: 1987, Why I am Still a Christian, T. and T. Clark Ltd., Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  29. Lewis, O.: 1968, ‘The culture of poverty’, in D. P. Moynihan (ed.), On Understanding Poverty: Perspectives from the Social Sciences, Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  30. Loan, A.: 1991/92, ‘Institutional bases of the spontaneous order: surety and assurance’, Humane Studies Review 7, 17–24.Google Scholar
  31. Mandeville, B.: 1988, The Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices, Public Benefits, vols. 1 and 2, Liberty Classics, Indianapolis.Google Scholar
  32. Maclntyre, A.: 1986, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, Duckworth, London.Google Scholar
  33. Murry, C.: 1984, Losing Ground, American Social Policy 1950–1980, Basic Books, New York. Myrdal, G.: 1963, Challenge to Affluence, Pantheon Books, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Novak, M.: 1982, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, University Press of America, Lanham, MD.Google Scholar
  35. Olasky, M.: 1992, The Tragedy of American Compassion, Regnery Gateway, Washington, D.C. Ost, D.: 1990, Solidarity and the Politics of Anti-Politics, Temple University Press, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  36. Roepke, W.: 1960, A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market, Henry Regnery Company, Chicago.Google Scholar
  37. Rorty, R.: 1989, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Schmidtz, D.: 1991, The Limits of Government: An Essay on the Public Goods Argument, Westview Press, Boulder, San Francisco and Oxford.Google Scholar
  38. Sellars, W.: 1968, Science and Metaphysics, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  39. Smith, A.: 1981, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, vols. 1 and 2, Liberty Classics, Indianapolis.Google Scholar
  40. Starski, S.: 1982, Class Struggle in Classless Poland, South End Press, Boston.Google Scholar
  41. Taylor, C.: 1985, Philosophy and the Human Sciences: Philosophical Papers, vol. 2, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Taylor, C.: 1989, Sources of the Self. The Making of Modem Identity, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  43. Taylor, C.: 1994, Multiculturalism, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  44. Tocqueville, A.: 1969, Democracy in America, Doubleday and Company, Inc., Garden City, New York.Google Scholar
  45. Topper, K.: 1995, ‘Richard Rorty, liberalism and the politics of redescription’, American Political Science Review 89.Google Scholar
  46. Verhovek, S. H.: 1995, -Mother Teresa of Houston“ fights hunger and government aid’, New York Times (Feb. 6 ), A7.Google Scholar
  47. Wilson, W. J.: 1980, The Declining Significance of Race, University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Wilson, W. J.: 1987, The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner city, the Underclass, and Public Policy, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  48. Wilson, W. J.: 1991, ‘The truly disadvantaged revisited: a response to Hochschild and Boxill’, Ethics 101, 593–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wolfe, M. J.: 1938, The Problem of Solidarism in St. Thomas, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georzge Khushf
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Center for BioethicsUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations