7th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Trifunovic

Milica Trifunovic

Solidarity in International Law, Politics and Philosophy

Solidarity has been a subject of academic analysis in sociology, psychology, politics and philosophy. However, its theoretical status is still unsettled. It certainly has a great emotional value which makes it appealing for its overuse in everyday political jargon. As a “tramp card“ has often been used in justification of specific society measures and in that way has played an active role in political practice. Whether the meaning of the term and its practical usage concur is to be demonstrated here. This essay endeavours to provide a philosophical account of what solidarity is. It will examine whether the term has a normative or descriptive value and what are its practical applications. The approach will differentiate between the questions that pertain to domain of solidarity, to its scope and to its ground. By the domain I mean area of human behaviour in which solidarity as a concept is used. For the purpose of limited extent of this essay, I will focus only on the political, as opposed to the private, sphere. Moreover, the paper will focus solely to the domain of international relations. Furthermore, I tend to answer the question which agents undergo the act of solidarity (individuals, peoples, states or organizations). This will be the question of the scope of solidarity. Finally, I will discuss different motivations for solidary behaviour: altruism, egoism, collectivism / nationalism, principalism. These different motivations I call grounds of solidarity. They should be a helpful tool in distinguishing between solidarity and other similarly used terms such as humanity, generosity and duty of assistance. This should suffice to entangle the connection between solidarity and justice and to show how the two terms could profit from one another. The ultimate goal will be to answer whether solidarity gives us, as justice does, any theoretical incentives for practical development of international relations and if yes of what kind.