On Solidarity

IWM International Alumni Summer School in Philosophy and Politics
Conferences and Workshops

The IWM organized the summer school in 2006 exclusively for its alumni. They constitute a distinguished, exceptionally diverse international network of researchers and intellectuals.


Seminar 1: On Concepts and Forms of Social Solidarity

With Claus Offe (Berlin), Ute Frevert (Yale) and Birgit Sauer (Wien).

The seminar explored historical roots and forms of the concept of solidarity. It also examined, how institutions - social associations and movements, religious communities or the state - motivate and limit societal solidarity, from the XIX century until today. What are the conditions, what are the limits of various forms of solidarity? How do the differences of class, race and gender influence them? What are the chances, challenges of immigration for societal cohesion and social solidarity, in particular in today´s Europe? Under what conditions people act in solidarity at all? How can it be learned? Can the duty to practise solidarity be legislated and legally enforced? Do people limit solidarity to the likes of themselves?


Seminar 2: A Solidarity of Understanding? The Problem of a Common European History since 1945

With Norman Naimark (Stanford), Marci Shore (Wisconsin) and Timothy Snyder (Yale).

The separation of historical self-understanding that emerges after the Second World War between eastern and western Europe was the main topic of this seminar as well as the recovery of identity, in particular by way of narratives of wartime and postwar suffering in the East and the West. How was the East European experience of war and postwar different from the West European experience? How do the legacies of Nazism and Stalinism play out in the postwar years? Can East and West Europeans be expected to see each other´s past as common and as European?


Seminar 3: United Europe: Myth or Reality?

With Ivan Krastev (Sofia) and Aleksander Smolar (Paris/Warsaw).

This seminar discussed the state and the prospects of European unity, against the background of the widespread perception of its crisis. Institutions and policies of the European Union were debated in the larger, all-European context. What are European dreams, what are European nightmares, its strenghts and its vulnerabilities today? How do various European social models strengthen, how do they weaken solidarity in Europe? How successful can EU strategies of promoting democracy and freedom outside the Union be? When is European unity a danger to national identities?


Seminar 4: On Christian Charity and Modern Individualism

With Marcin Krol (Warsaw), Gianni Vattimo (Turin) and Krzysztof Michalski (Vienna).

What are the sources of social solidarity in a modern society? How can liberal individualism be combined with social solidarity? What role does the Christian tradition - in particular Christian charity - play in this context?  Is God dead?  How does secularisation change conditions and limits of solidarity in a modern Western society? How do Christian institutions and concepts fit into the liberal and individualistic society in general? - these are some the questions that were addressed in this seminar.


With special guest lectures of Giuliano Amato (member of Italian senate, former prime minister of Italy) and Rocco Buttiglione (Italian minister of culture).

The Summer School was once again generously supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation.