Summary and Recordings: Solidarity in Research and Practice - why now? 15.11.2018

On 15 November 2018, Professor Barbara Prainsack launched her new Centre for the Study of Contemporary Solidarity (CeSCoS) at the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna. Hosted in the heart of Vienna, the day-long event explored various aspects of solidarity in research and practice.

Executive Summary

Please find the executive summary of the event here.


Please find the programme of the event here.

 Barbara Prainsack & Alena Buyx - Welcome: Why Solidarity Now?

In their opening talk, Barbara Prainsack (University of Vienna) and Alena Buyx (TU Munich) talked about the need to debunk a general belief of solidarity as irrelevant for resolving contemporary challenges by highlighting its fundamental social embeddedness in practices aimed at collective institutional building.

 Carol Gould: Solidarity between the National and the Transnational: What do we owe to ‘Outsiders’?

In her lecture, Carol Gould, Professor of Philosophy at City University New York and member of CeSCoS Advisory Board, discussed solidarity beyond national borders. What do we owe those who are portrayed as “outsiders” in current political discourse? Should we always stand in solidarity with fellow citizens or should we equally enact solidarity with oppressed or suffering others outside our borders?

 Linsey McGoey: Solidarity, Economic Inequality and the New Politics of Wealth Distribution

In her lecture, Linsey McGoey, Associate Professor in Social Theory and Economic Sociology at the University of Essex, foregrounded the issue of social and economic justice as a key concern of scholarship on solidarity. She discussed a paradigm shift being underway in the social sciences. For at least 60 years, mainstream economic thought emphasizsed that inequality is not in itself a central component of well-being: what matters most is poverty alleviation. This belief is shifting today as the problem of in-country inequality grows more acute, leading to renewed interest in a problem that preoccupied classical political economists: the problem of rent-seeking. Professor McGoey explored the origins of the current paradigm shift, linking criticism of the ‘marginal’ turn in neoclassical theories of income distribution to earlier classical theories of economic value developed in the late 18th-century.

 David Townend: Solidarity and the Law

David Townend, Professor of Health and Life Sciences Jurisprudence at Maastricht University, kicked off the afternoon session with a presentation on the relationship between data protection laws, the use of big data in research, and the concept of solidarity.

 Bernard Dichek: Artists for Arts and Artists

Bernard Dichek, a journalist and filmmaker based in Israel, discussed artist-run initiatives as a form of contemporary solidarity. His journey through art cooperatives around the world took him from urban hubs in Berlin to remote locations such as Murmansk in Russia.

 Panel Discussion: Why do we need Solidarity?

The afternoon session concluded with a panel discussion on 'Why do we need Solidarity?' chaired by Dr Katharina Kieslich (University of Vienna). Panelists included Dr Christiane Druml (UNESCO Chair on Bioethics, Medical University of Vienna), Dr Jörg Flecker (Professor of Sociology, University of Vienna), Dr Ine van Hoyweghen (Professor at the Centre for Sociological Research, KU Leuven), Maria Hofmarcher - Holzhacker (Health systems expert, Health System Intelligence Vienna) and Dr Lukas Schlögl (Post Doc Researcher, University of Vienna). Did they think that solidarity had something to offer that other concepts and practices do not? If so, what is it? Watch the video to find out.

 Christa Schnabl: Introductory Words

The German-speaking part of the event began with a welcome address by the Vice Rector of the University of Vienna, Professor Christa Schnabl.

 Keynote - Peter Dabrock:

Peter Dabrock, Professor at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg and Chairman of the German Ethics Council, rounded up the day by addressing the role of solidarity in the digital age.