Where Does Solidarity End?

For some sceptics, solidarity has already ended: we are in an epoch of individualism, when concern for the welfare of others has no place in the rational-choice egoism of purely economic actors. As a corollary, trade unionism itself is obsolete. Several decades ago Mancur Olson, in The Logic of Collective Action,[1] identified a paradox: that the rational individualist worker would avoid the costs of union membership, since s/he would benefit from the achievements of collective bargaining even if not a member (the ‘free-rider’ principle); but if all workers followed such instincts, there would be no trade unionism and all would be worse off. Olson’s solution to this paradox was unconvincing; and the ‘rational choice’ approach to collective action is itself flawed. In reality, most workers have always joined trade unions because they already see themselves as part of a community and do not identify themselves in purely egoistic terms. Is this no longer the case?

The question may be posed rather differently: not whether solidarity is at an end, but whether old models and conceptions are exhausted and thus whether solidarity must be redefined and re-invented. ‘Solidarity can only be rescued if it is placed on a new foundation,’ is the argument of Philippe Van Parijs.[2] Likewise, Rainer Zoll has argued the need for a reassessment and redefinition of our understanding of solidarity.[3] This is also the position which I wish to develop below.

The Many Meanings of Solidarity

The principle of solidarity has a long history, and like most evaluatively charged concepts its meanings have changed over time and its interpretations remain varied. For example, both socialists and catholics commonly appeal to the ideal of solidarity, but what they understand by this is in many respects very different. It is not my intention here to explore the etymology and historical evolution of the concept, but it is important to highlight some of its contrasting implications.

One conception presupposes common identity, the possession of characteristics which mark individuals as members of a group – the nation, the tribe, the religious sect (or perhaps also devotion to a particular football club or pop group) – with a collective loyalty and a clear sense of difference from those outside its ranks. Sometimes the homogeneity of the group may be reinforced by rituals, uniforms, an arcane vocabulary. The common obligations deriving from uniformity constitute what Durkheim defined as ‘mechanical solidarity’: externally imposed commitments which allow little or no space for choice or reflection. In the past, perhaps, this model of solidarity played a significant part in the collectivism of labour movements.

A second type of solidarity, at times overlapping with the first, is based on awareness of common interests which are best pursued collectively. This is the classic rationale for trade unionism: workers as a whole are victims of oppression and exploitation, individually weak as employees, consumers or citizens; but unity is strength. The foundation of effective labour movements depended on what, elsewhere, I have described as ‘solidarity as a mobilising myth’.[4] It was by emphasising the commonality of interests that union organisers sought to persuade workers that ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’. And because interests are shaped by subjective perception as well as objective situation, belief could create its own reality. ‘Solidarity forever’ became factual, to the extent that the heroic myths actually defined workers’ understanding of their own circumstances.

A third understanding of solidarity involves mutuality despite difference. This may be based on a sense of interdependence, generating what might be called a second-order community of interest in sustaining a set of social relationships in which all are positively implicated. It was in this sense that Durkheim wrote that the elaborate division of labour within modern societies created the basis (or at least the potential) for an organic solidarity, more nuanced and more flexible than the rigid uniformity of earlier social structures. A different way of comprehending such mutuality is as an expression of the obligations of humanity. No man [or woman, we would add today] is an island, wrote John Donne. From this perspective, there is an obligation on the strong to support the weak – either on the pragmatic rationale that the roles might on some occasion be reversed, or through a more diffuse recognition of the human condition. This third approach may turn solidarity into a synonym for charity, implying pitying support for passive victims. This is far removed from the socialist view of solidarity as active and collective; but can aspects of this approach be used to inform and enrich the solidarity of labour movements?

Opposition, Class Oppression and Diversity

To explore this question we should note an important distinction, between what may be termed solidarity with and solidarity against. In the insurgent origins of most labour movements, workers’ unity was the basis for resistance to the oppressor. By contrast, conceptions of solidarity-as-charity often avoid any reference to conflicting interests and collective mobilisation and struggle. This is also true, we may note, of the conventional usage of solidarity in the contemporary politics of the European Union: in this discourse, it is necessary to combat social exclusion, but the latter is regarded as the product of impersonal social forces rather than of deliberate human agency.

Class opposition was historically an important foundation of trade union conceptions of solidarity. Yet the understanding of class was always somewhat problematic, and has become increasingly so. Unions were traditionally organised on the basis of particular constituencies: distinct occupations, specific employers, individual sectors of the economy. In uniting one group of workers, unions could divide them from others. To some extent, the ideal of class solidarity can be seen as an effort to overcome such divisions. And typically, if class was able to unite it was not so much through common interests in the present as through a vision of the future: ‘trade unionism often involved the articulation of an alternative social order comprising a wider class solidarity’.[5] This is consistent with Alain Touraine’s theory of class:[6] workers’ collective consciousness involved a sense of common identity which was conditioned by perceptions of antagonism to an external threat (typically, the employer); but what was necessary to give this true class significance was a totalising understanding of the context of this opposition, and linked to this a perception of a different form of economy and society. But if the traditional class utopias have lost their credibility, is class solidarity still possible?

More prosaically, it was easiest to identify trade unionism with class solidarity when the boundaries of class seemed relatively clear-cut. The typical union members of the past were manual workers in factory, mine or mill, on the docks or the railways, confronting employers whose own impressive class solidarity underlined the need for an equally effective proletarian counterforce. Now that manual workers in the traditional sense are a minority of the labour force, and in some countries also of trade union members, collective identities have become far more diffuse, and employee interests far more differentiated. Concurrently, with the expansion of public employment, the idea of the employer as oppressor has lost some of its force. Of course sociologists may argue that class analysis, with modifications perhaps, can encompass the situations of white-collar workers or public employees; but subjectively the heterogeneity of contemporary employment means that the collective interests of particular employee groups are often likely to be viewed in opposition to those of other workers rather than in parallel.

Class as the motor of solidarity is also challenged by the significance of other bases of interests and identities. One obvious example is gender. Trade unions have been forced to come to terms, often with some difficulty, with the fact that traditional conceptions of solidarity were essentially a masculine construct, while the universalism of the rhetoric of class typically expressed the circumstances of men and neglected those of women. The collective bargaining agenda normally presupposed a male, full-time employee; the social policy agenda very often presupposed a male ‘breadwinner’ with a dependent housewife. As unions have come slowly – more slowly indeed in some countries than in others – to recognise the more complex interdependence between waged employment and domestic labour, and the manifold ways in which gendered inequalities pervade the work environment, so many of the simple dimensions of old ideas of class collectivism have lost their coherence. More specifically, solidarity within and between gender groups involve very different issues, which in neither case can be reduced to old formulae of class solidarity.

Just as class relations are cross-cut by those of gender, so they are also permeated by the increasing ethnic diversity of contemporary societies. For ethnic minority workers, problems of class oppression are often reinforced by those of racism and xenophobia. In many countries, such workers are underrepresented in union membership, and far more so in positions of leadership. In the past, trade union job protections have often been associated, whether or not intentionally, with discriminatory practices. For victims of xenophobia and racial discrimination, solidarity with those in a similar position may be the first priority. Again, a challenge for trade unions is how far they can accommodate such concerns – especially when their own members may be beneficiaries and indeed perpetrators of discriminatory practices.

To take this logic further, workers possess multiple identities. The stereotype of the traditional proletarian status emphasised a common work situation, an integrated and homogeneous local community, and a limited repertoire of shared cultural and social pursuits. Though exaggerated, this stereotype did identify a core of historical reality, particularly in the single-industry manual working-class milieux in which ‘modern’ mass trade unionism had its strongest roots. By contrast, in contemporary society the spatial location and social organisation of work, residence, consumption and sociability have become highly differentiated. Today the typical employee may live a considerable distance from fellow-workers, possess a largely ‘privatised’ domestic life or a circle of friends unconnected with work, and pursue cultural or recreational interests quite different from those of other employees in the same workplace. This disjuncture between work and community (or indeed the destruction of community in much of its traditional meaning) entails the loss of many of the localised networks which strengthened the supports of union membership (and in some cases made the local union almost a ‘total institution’). At the same time, partly in consequence, a person’s employment is today less often than in the past the dominating signifier of individual identity. Even if the importance of ‘lifestyle politics’ is sometimes exaggerated, such aspects of identity as age, sexual orientation, leisure activities increasingly compete with occupational status in shaping workers’ perceptions of their interests. This poses obvious difficulties for traditional understandings of the solidarity of labour.

The Limits of Mechanical Solidarity

A century ago, in their classic analysis of trade union functions, Sidney and Beatrice Webb saw unions’ central purpose as establishing a ‘common rule’ governing the employment conditions of all members of each employee group.[7] Mass labour movements often embraced this principle in a form more rigid than the Webbs themselves envisaged: as suggested earlier, collective regulation in industrial relations commonly showed considerable resemblance to Durkheim’s concept of mechanical solidarity. This was problematic in three key respects.

First, it presupposed a standardisation of regulation: a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of employment conditions. Paradoxically, there was often an elective affinity between trade union rule-making and the standardisation imposed on workers by ‘Fordist’ employers. While employers insisted that workers were ‘not paid to think’, unions were suspicious of the notion that individual workers should exercise choice over their employment conditions. Understandably so, since the whole basis of trade unionism was that individual bargaining between worker and employer would be on management’s terms, and that the conditions of all employees could be advanced only by eliminating the scope for each to bargain separately. Yet the principle of standardisation often failed to recognise any differentiation of issues. Unions correctly identified some essential common rules – minimum rates of pay, maximum hours of work – which were essential if workers were not to engage in a competitive undercutting of conditions. On some issues, however, individual choice need not necessarily undermine general safeguards; but traditional union approaches to collective bargaining have been sceptical at best towards ideas of flexible regulation which allow scope for personal preferences. I return to this issue below.

Second, to some extent as a corollary, mass trade unionism was normally based on a hierarchical control which mirrored that of the employer, with a centralised determination of policy and insistence on disciplined observance of authoritative decisions. Such a model of solidarity could be justified in terms of the needs of an effective fighting organisation: ‘when a unit goes into battle it is impossible for each individual to follow their own judgment, everyone must be subordinated to a predetermined plan,’ wrote Hermann Jochade, president of the International Transportworkers’ Federation a century ago. More prosaically, from the Webbs onwards it has been common to argue that what they dismissed as ‘primitive democracy’ is incompatible with administrative efficiency and negotiating expertise: like business organisations, unions themselves should embrace the principles of scientific management.

Third, the solidarity of interest representation has always been selective. It is possible to identify four main types of issue of concern to unions. The first constitutes the traditional core agenda of ‘bread-and-butter’ collective bargaining over wages and other conditions of employment. The second relates more to procedure, status and opportunity: rights limiting employers’ arbitrary authority and underwriting employment protection, ‘fair’ mechanisms for promotion and career advancement, training opportunities and so on; and the regulation of production, the allocation of work and the determination of workloads. The third addresses the role of the state: the constitution of the social wage (hence concern with social welfare provision and taxation policy), the politico-legal framework of trade union organisation and action, the macroeconomic policies which shape the circumstances of the labour market. Finally there is an agenda not directly linked to the worker’s status as employee but addressing other facets of personal and social existence: war and peace, the environment, the sphere of consumption, the institutions and facilities of the local community. While all these varied themes have figured on the trade union agenda at different times, however, there have often been strong pressures to avoid questions which may prove internally controversial and to highlight those on which unions can deliver results through negotiation with employers or with governments. Commonly this has reinforced unions’ role as bureaucratic bargaining agents at the expense of their potential as social movements.

In my view, mechanical solidarity is an idea and an orientation whose time has passed. It has locked trade unions in many countries into a language and a mode of action which no longer attract and in many cases repel those whose interests unions wish to represent. There is an urgent need for new understandings of solidarity.

Towards New Solidarities

Union membership is almost universally in decline: the main cross-national difference is in the speed, not the fact of this decline. In the main, the composition of union membership reflects the labour force of half a century ago: predominantly male, heavily weighted towards manual workers in ‘old’ industries or in a shrinking public sector, working full-time on a ‘normal’ employment contract. It is also an ageing group: in most countries, the median age of a union member is well over 40, in some cases over 50. By the year 2020, in other words, the majority of today’s trade unionists will have retired. Can a new, and in many ways very different, generation be won to collective organisation in their place?

In many respects, the malaise afflicting labour movements in much of the world today stems from the exhaustion of their old model of collectivism. In its traditional form, ‘solidarity’ was a slogan which easily matched a conception of a working class which was not recognised as differentiated by gender, skill, ethnicity or other significant characteristics. How do we understand the idea of solidarity if the old notion of an undifferentiated proletariat is abandoned? The starting point must be that solidarity involves the perception of commonalities which extend, but do not abolish, consciousness of distinct and particularistic interests. Workers’ organisations themselves acquire cohesion and effectiveness by shaping the ways in which members and supporters identify their own circumstances and frame their own grievances and aspirations. This process can be double-edged. Most labour movements in the nineteenth and twentieth century expressed as general interests of the working class what were often the specific interests of its strongest sections. To cling to former models of solidarity means increasingly to suppress the more differentiated concerns of women workers, members of minority ethnic groups, those with marginal occupational status, new entrants to an increasingly unfriendly labour market, and so on.

A solidarity which can appeal to those outside the traditional ranks of trade unionism must accommodate, indeed welcome diversity. Hence it is more appropriate to speak of solidarities in the plural rather than in the singular. Solidarities must be multi-faceted, first because the labour market circumstances of different groups of workers are varied (and in some respects in competition); second because extra-work identities (which nevertheless affect how employees regard themselves as workers) are increasingly differentiated. In his thought-provoking book Beyond Individualism, Michael Piore[8] has suggested a new understanding of trade unions, first as ‘communities of action’ (organisations that provide a context for individual self-realisation), and second as ‘borderland institutions’ (which bridge the ideals and perspectives of distinct social or cultural groups). Both themes imply abandoning the principles of mechanical solidarity. In other words, regulation of employment must be flexible, not uniform; common action must be the outcome of debate and discussion, not hierarchically imposed; and the suppressed alternatives of traditional collective action must be rediscovered.

A concrete example may be helpful. For more than a decade, the world of work has been permeated by risk and insecurity. The demand by employers – and increasingly, governments – for ‘flexibility’ means reversing many of the gains won by labour movements over more than a century, which ensured that workers could not be treated simply as disposable commodities. There can be no doubt that, among workers, this is a source of disorientation and resentment (though the outcome can often be to find scapegoats among even more vulnerable sections of the community). Yet the discourse of flexibility also connects with the attractions of individual autonomy and choice. Can trade unions bridge the borderland between insecurity and autonomy, giving positive force to what Ulrich beck has called ‘solidarity from anxiety’?[9]

This raises difficult issues. It is right to be suspicious of the idea of ‘soft law’ (or the more recent analogue, the ‘open method of coordination’): its implication is a process of regulation which does not genuinely regulate. But consider some specific questions for contemporary trade unionism. For example, should overtime working be prohibited altogether; rewarded by extra payments; or compensated by time off at the individual’s own discretion? Should part-time employment be resisted, or should there be scope for variable hours of work – if employees themselves can agree or refuse, and can obtain the same employment rights as full-time employees?

The challenge for trade unions today is to develop forms of regulation which define a solid framework within which workers can exercise genuine choice. This means determining which rules should be primary and universal, which are secondary and discretionary. It means redefining flexibility, resisting flexibility as precariousness and vulnerability but embracing flexibility as the right to choose within an overall framework of protection. This is an expression of a genuinely organic solidarity: a combination of universal shelter and individual opportunity.

To survive, the principle of solidarity must be redefined and reinvented. Without this, does trade unionism have a future?


1. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1965.

2. Refonder la solidarité, Paris: Editions du cerf, 1996.

3. Was ist Solidarität heute?, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 2000.

4. ‘Imagined Solidarities: Can Trade Unions Resist Globalization?’ in Peter Leisink, ed., Globalization and Labour Relations, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 1999.

5. Andrew J. Richards, ‘The Crisis of Union Representation’, in Guy Van Guyes, Hans De Witte and Patrick Pasture, eds, Can Class Still Unite?, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001.

6. La conscience ouvrière, Paris: Seuil, 1966.

7. Industrial Democracy, London: Longmans, 1897.

8. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1995.

9. Risikogesellschaft, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1986.


Tr@nsit online, Nr. 24/2002
Copyright © 2002 by the author & Transit – Europäische Revue.
All rights reserved. This work may be used, with this header included, for noncommercial purposes. No copies of this work may be distributed electronically, in whole or in part, without written permission from Transit.


Related Content

  • Was hält Europa zusammen?

    1. Die Europäische Union steht vor einer großen, vielleicht ihrer bisher größten Herausforderung. Zum einen erweitert sie sich, und zwar dramatisch: Mehr als 70 Millionen Menschen werden europäische Pässe bekommen. Zum anderen versucht sie, sich selbst – in einem Verfassungsbildungsprozess – radikal neu zu definieren, sich in eine neuartige politische Einheit zu verwandeln. Die Erweiterung …
    Read more

  • Überflüssig.
    Deutungsbegriff für neue gesellschaftliche Gefährdungen?

    »Überflüssig in diesem Land«[1] Im Oktober 2004 porträtierte die Berliner taz unter dem Titel »Überflüssig in diesem Land« den Reserveoffizier der Bundeswehr, Andreas S.[2] In das Bild, das sich die Gesellschaft ebenso wie die Soziologie von ›den‹ Überflüssigen, von der »uneinheitlichen Gruppe der am Arbeitsmarkt Marginalisierten: Langzeitarbeitslose, Sozialhilfeempfänger, arbeitssuchende Jugendliche, Beschäftigte im Tieflohnsektor und in …
    Read more

  • Achsen der Ungleichheit – Achsen der Differenz.
    Verhältnisbestimmungen von Klasse, Geschlecht, »Rasse« / Ethnizität

    In der Debatte über gesellschaftliche Transformationsprozesse in Zeiten von Globalisierung und europäischer Integration wird vielfach eine Kluft zwischen der wachsenden Brisanz von Fragen sozialer Ungleichheit und Ausgrenzung auf der einen und ihrer unbefriedigenden wissenschaftlichen Durchdringung auf der anderen Seite notiert. Klärungsbedarf besteht sowohl hinsichtlich des Verhältnisses von Kontinuität und Wandel in den Formen von Ungleichheit …
    Read more

  • Die Zukunft der sozialen Sicherheit

    Die Beiträge in diesem Heft diskutieren soziale Sicherheit und soziale Modelle im Hinblick auf ihre verschiedene Formen, Strukturen und Ziele. Es geht vor allem um die Frage, wie unsere Gesellschaft, wie unsere Länder – die Europäische Union auf der einen Seite und die Vereinigten Staaten auf der anderen – diese Ziele zu verwirklichen suchen. In …
    Read more

Tr@nsit Online Authors

  • Bradley F. Abrams

    History, Stanford University
    Read more

  • Thomas Ahbe

    Thomas Ahbe studierte Philosophie, Ökonomie und Soziologie. Seit 1998 wirkt er freischaffend als Sozialwissenschaftler und Publizist. Seine Arbeitsschwerpunkte sind Diskurs- und Kulturgeschichte der deutschen Zweistaatlichkeit und der ostdeutschen Transformation sowie die Generationengeschichte der DDR und Ostdeutschlands.   Print

  • Karl Aiginger

    Karl Aiginger is Director of WIFO (Österreichisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung), Professor of Economics and Coordinator of the project A new growth path for Europe within the 7th European Framework Program.   Print

  • Huercan Asli Aksoy

    Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, University of Tübingen
    Read more

  • Sorin Antohi

    Sorin Antohi is Professor of History at Central European University, Budapest.   Print

  • Timothy Garton Ash

    History, Oxford
    Read more

  • Roumen Avramov

    Program director for economic research at the Center for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
    Read more

  • Adam Baczko

    PhD Candidate in Political Science, EHESS, Paris
    Read more

  • Rainer Bauböck

    Rainer Bauböck is professor of social and political theory at the European University Institute in Florence. In 2006 he was awarded the Latsis Prize of the European Science Foundation for his work on immigration and social cohesion in modern societies. Among his many publications are Immigration and Boundaries of Citizenship (1992), Transnational Citizenship: Membership and …
    Read more

  • Steven Beller

    Geschichte, Cambridge
    Read more

  • Naja Bentzen

    Freelance journalist, Wien
    Read more

  • Luiza Bialasiewicz

    Professor of European Governance, University of Amsterdam
    Read more

  • Muriel Blaive

    Advisor to the Director, in Charge of Research and Methodology, Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Prague
    Read more

  • András Bozóki

    Professor of Political Science, Central European University, Budapest
    Read more

  • José Casanova

    Professor für Soziologie, New School for Social Research, New York
    Read more

  • Daniel Chirot

    Soziologie, Seattle
    Read more

  • Robert Cooper

    Robert Cooper ist britischer Diplomat und derzeit als Sonderberater des Europäischen Auswärtigen Dienstes (European External Action Service, EEAS) tätig. Er ist zudem Gründungsmitglied des European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).   Print

  • Peter Demetz

    Sterling Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature, Yale University; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
    Read more

  • James Dodd

    Associate Professor of Philosophy, Special Advisor to the Dean on Faculty Affairs, New School for Social Research
    Read more

  • Martin Endreß

    Martin Endreß ist Professor für Soziologie an der Universität Trier.   Print

  • Mischa Gabowitsch

    Mischa Gabowitsch (gabowitsch.net) is a research fellow at the Einstein Forum in Potsdam. He is the author of Putin kaputt!? (Suhrkamp, 2013), a study of the 2011-13 Russian protests for fair elections, and maintains protestrussia.net, which collects academic resources for the study of protest in Russia.   Print

  • Charles Gati

    Charles Gati is Senior Acting Director of Russian and Eurasian Studies and Foreign Policy Institute Senior Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C.     Print

  • Dessy Gavrilova

    Dessy Gavrilova is the founding Director of The Red House – Center for Culture and Debate in Sofia, Bulgaria.     Print

  • Keith Gessen

    Keith Gessen is a freelance writer living in Cambridge, MA.   Print

  • Gerhard Gnauck

    Warsaw correspondent for Die Welt
    Read more

  • Katya Gorchinskaya

    Managing Editor for Investigative Programming, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (REF/RL), Kyiv
    Read more

  • John Gray

    John Gray is Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics.   Print

  • Rainer Gries

    Rainer Gries lehrt und forscht als Universitätsprofessor am Historischen Institut der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, am Institut für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft der Universität Wien sowie an der Sigmund Freud PrivatUniversität Wien. Zu seinen Forschungsschwerpuntken zählen u.a. die Gesellschaftsgeschichte Deutschlands und Österreichs im 20. Jahrhundert und die Geschichte des Konsums in Europa.   Print

  • Eva Hahn

    Read more

  • Gábor Halmai

    Professor of Law, Department of European Studies; Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
    Read more

  • Elemer Hankiss

    Professor für Politikwissenschaft, Eötvös Lorand Universität, Budapest; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
    Read more

  • Miklós Haraszti

    Miklós Haraszti is a writer, journalist, human rights advocate and university professor. He served the maximum of two terms as the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media from 2004 to 2010. Currently he is Adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia Law School, New York. Haraszti studied philosophy and …
    Read more

  • Sabine Hark

    Sabine Hark forscht an der Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Universität Potsdam, Professur für Frauenforschung.   Print

  • Annemieke Hendriks

    Freelance journalist, Berlin
    Read more

  • Charles Hirschman

    Charles Hirschman is Boeing International Professor at the Department of Sociology and the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, Washington University.     Print

  • Jennifer L. Hochschild

    Jennifer L. Hochschild is Professor of Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Professor of African and African-American Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University.   Print

  • Yaroslav Hrytsak

    History, Central European University Budapest
    Read more

  • Richard Hyman

    Richard Hyman ist Professor für Politikwissenschaft an der London School of Economics.   Print

  • Vladislav Inozemtsev

    Professor of Economics at Higher School of Economics; Director, Centre for Post-Industrial Studies, Moscow
    Read more

  • Bruce P. Jackson

    Bruce P. Jackson is the founder and President of the Project on Transitional Democracies. The Project is a multi-year endeavour aimed at accelerating the pace of reform in post-1989 democracies and advancing the date for the integration of these democracies into the institutions of the Euro-Atlantic. Jackson has written extensively about the engagement of Russia …
    Read more

  • Tom Junes

    Visiting Researcher, Warsaw University, and Visiting Lecturer in Polish history, KULeuven, Belgium
    Read more

  • Alex J. Kay

    Alex J. Kay holds a PhD in History from the Humboldt University Berlin.   Print

  • Anatoly M. Khazanov

    Anatoly M. Khazanov ist Professor für Anthropologie an der University of Wisconsin, Madison.   Print

  • Cornelia Klinger

    Professor of Philosophy, University of Tübingen
    Read more

  • Gudrun-Axeli Knapp

    Professor of Social Sciences and Social Psychology, University of Hannover
    Read more

  • Jacek Kochanowicz

    Jacek Kochanowicz is Professor for Economic History at Warsaw University.       Print

  • Michal Kopecek

    International Relations, Charles University Prague
    Read more

  • János Kornai

    János Kornai is Prof. em. for Economics  at Harvard University and Permanent Fellow at the Collegium Budapest – Institute for Advanced Study. He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europeae, and Foreign Member of the American, British, Bulgarian, Finnish, Russian and Swedish Academies. He has served as President of …
    Read more

  • Bilyana Kourtasheva

    Post-Doc in Theory and History of Literature, New Bulgarian University, Sofia
    Read more

  • János Mátyás Kovács

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Senior member of RECET, Institute of East European History, Vienna University; Professor of Economic History, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
    Read more

  • Ivan Krastev

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Chair of the Board, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
    Read more

  • Yustyna Kravchuk

    PhD candidate in Film and Media Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv
    Read more

  • Jacek Kucharczyk

    Jacek Kucharczyk ist Head of Programs am Institute of Public Affairs in Warschau.   Print

  • Aleksander Kwasniewski

    Aleksander Kwasniewski war Präsident Polens. Seine Amtszeit verlief von 1995 bis 2005 über zwei Legislaturperioden.   Print

  • Mladen Lazic

    Professor of Sociology, University of Belgrade
    Read more

  • Claus Leggewie

    Professor für Politikwissenschaft, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen
    Read more

  • Mark Leonard

    Co-founder and Director, European Council on Foreign Relations
    Read more

  • André Liebich

    Honorary Professor of International History and Politics, Graduate Institute, Geneva
    Read more

  • Burkhard Liebsch

    Burkhard Liebsch ist Professor für Philosophie an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum.   Print

  • Michal Luczewski

    Ph.D. candidate in Sociology, Warsaw University
    Read more

  • Charles S. Maier

    Charles S. Maier ist Direktor des Center for European Studies, Harvard University.   Print

  • Andrey Makarychev

    Andrey Makarychev ist Professor und Research Fellow am Institut Osteuropäische Studien an der Freien Universität Berlin.   Print

  • Michał Maciej Matlak

    Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political and Social Sciences, European University Institute, Florence
    Read more

  • Erik Meyer

    Erik Meyer ist seit 2000 wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Sonderforschungsbereich ‘Erinnerungskulturen’ an der Justus-Liebig Universität Gießen.   Print

  • Krzysztof Michalski

    IWM Founding Rector
    Read more

  • Hans J. Misselwitz

    Hans-Jürgen Misselwitz ist ein deutscher SPD-Politiker und Gründungsmitglied des Instituts Solidarische Moderne.   Print

  • Alessandro Monsutti

    Alessandro Monsutti is an associate professor of anthropology and development sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, as well as research associate at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. He worked as a consultant for several nongovernmental and international organizations, icnluding UNHCR. His book War and Migration: Social Networks …
    Read more

  • Jan-Werner Müller

    Professor of Politics, Princeton University

    Visiting Fellow
    (September 2016 – August 2017)
    Read more

  • Rainer Münz

    Professor für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
    Read more

  • Sighard Neckel

    Professor of Sociology, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main
    Read more

  • Katherine Newman

    Katherine S. Newman is the James B. Knapp Dean of The Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. She is a widely published expert on poverty and the working poor who led major interdisciplinary initiatives at Princeton and Harvard universities.     Print

  • Pierre Nora

    Pierre Nora lehrt Geschichte an der École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris.   Print

  • Tereza Novotna

    Political Science, Boston University
    Read more

  • Ewald Nowotny

    Ewald Nowotny is Governor of the Austrian National Bank.   Print

  • Thomas Nowotny

    Thomas Nowotny teaches Political Science at the University of Vienna. He has been Austrian diplomat, private secretary to Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, senior political counselor to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and consultant to the OECD.   Print

  • Vlad Odobescu

    Freelance journalist, Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, Bucharest
    Read more

  • Andrzej Paczkowski

    Professor für Geschichte, Institut für Politische Studien, Polnische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Warschau
    Read more

  • Emilia Palonen

    Politics, University of Essex
    Read more

  • Irina Papkova

    Irina Papkova is a Research Fellow of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. She spent five years teaching at the Department of International Relations and European Studies at Central European University, Budapest.   Print

  • Agnieszka Pasieka

    Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the Martin Luther University, Halle/Saale
    Read more

  • Gleb Pavlovsky

    President, Center of Effective Policies; Member, Public Chamber of the Russian Federation; Editor-in-Chief, The Russian Journal, Moscow
    Read more

  • György Péteri

    Professor of Contemporary European History, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
    Read more

  • Tanja Petrovic

    Tanja Petrovic works at the Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana.   Print

  • David Petruccelli

    PhD candidate in History, Yale University
    Read more

  • Alexander von Plato

    Alexander von Plato ist ein deutscher Philosoph und Historiker. Er gründete das Instituts für Geschichte und Biographie an der Fernuniversität Hagen, das er bis 2007 leitete. Von 1996 bis 2000 war er Sekretär der International Oral History Association, von 2006 bis 2008 deren Vizepräsident. Er ist Mitherausgeber und Redakteur von BIOS – Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung, Oral …
    Read more

  • Andrei Pleșu

    Andrei Pleșu ist Rektor des New Europe College, Bukarest. 1989- 1991 war er rumänischer Kulturminister und 1997- 1999 rumänischer Außenminister.   Print

  • Martin Pollack

    Martin Pollack, geb. 1944 in OÖ, studierte Slawistik und osteuropäische Geschichte. Er war von 1987 bis 1998 Redakteur des “Spiegel” in Warschau und Wien und lebt heute als Schriftsteller und literarischer Übersetzer in Wien und Bocksdorf im Südburgenland. 2011 erhielt er den Leipziger Buchpreis zur Europäischen Verständigung und 2012 den Stanislaw-Vincenz-Preis. Zuletzt erschien von ihm …
    Read more

  • Krzysztof Pomian

    Krzysztof Pomian is Professor of History at the Nicolaus Copernicus University (Toruń) and Academic Director of the Museum of Europe in Brussels.   Print

  • Romano Prodi

    Romano Prodi war von September 1999 bis November 2004 Präsident der Europäischen Kommission.   Print

  • Lipin Ram

    PhD candidate and teaching assistant in Anthropology and Sociology of Development, Graduate Institute, Geneva
    Read more

  • Mykola Riabchuk

    Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Political and Nationalities’ Studies, Academy of Sciences, Kyiv
    Read more

  • Edelbert Richter

    Edelbert Richter ist deutscher Theologe, Politiker und war Mitglied des Deutschen Bundestages.   Print

  • Paul Ricoeur

    Paul Ricoeur ist Philosoph und war Professor Emeritus an der University of Chicago und an der Sorbonne. Er war Mitglied der Académie Francaise und Mitglied des Wissenschaftlichen Beirats des IWM. Er starb 2005.   Print

  • Michel Rocard

    Michel Rocard, former First Secretary of the French Socialist Party and a member of the European Parliament for 15 years, was Prime Minister of France from 1988 to 1991.   Print

  • Akos Rona-Tas

    Akos Rona-Tas is professor at the Sociology Department of the University of California, San Diego and a research associate at Met@risk, INRA, Paris. He is the author of the books Plastic Money: Constructing Markets for Credit Cards in Eight Postcommunist Countries (with Alya Guseva, 2014) and Surprise of the Small Transformation: Demise of Communism and …
    Read more

  • Lew Rubinstein

    Lew Rubinstein lebt als Poet und Essayist in Moskau. Nach dem Studium der Philologie war er als Bibliothekar tätig. Seit Ende der 1960er-Jahre verfasst er poetische Arbeiten, seit 1974 serielle Textzyklen als so genannte Kartotheken. Zusammen mit Andrej Monastyrskij, Dimitrij A. Prigov und Vladimir Sorokin gilt er als wichtigster Vertreter des Moskauer Konzeptualismus. Print

  • Jacques Rupnik

    Geschichte und Politikwissenschaft, Paris
    Read more

  • Claudia Šabic

    Claudia Šabi? ist Politikwissenschaftlerin und Ethnologin. Seit 1998 ist sie Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main. Print

  • Ranabir Samaddar

    Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group
    Read more

  • Paul Sanders

    Paul Sanders is a historian and management scholar. He is a full-time professor at Reims Management School in Reims, France. He has published across the disciplines of history, international relations and leadership.   Print

  • Karl Schlögel

    Karl Schlögel war Professor für Osteuropäische Geschichte zuerst an der Universität Konstanz, dann an der Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. Nach seiner Emeritierung arbeitet er an einer Archäologie des Kommunismus und einer Geschichte des Wolgaraumes. Zurzeit ist er City of Vienna/IFK Fellow am IFK in Wien.     Print

  • Thomas Schmid

    Thomas Schmid is the publisher of the WELT Group, Berlin. He worked for various newspapers, among them as editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. From 2006 to 2010 he was Editor-in-Chief of Die Welt.   Print

  • Margit Schratzenstaller

    Margit Schratzenstaller is senior researcher at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) and is currently coordinating (together with Karl Aiginger and Stefan Ederer) ‘WWW for Europe’, a 4-year research project within the 7th Framework Program funded by the European Commission.   Print

  • Dieter Segert

    Dieter Segert ist Professor für Transformationsprozesse in Mittel-, Südost- und Osteuropa am Institut für Politikwissenschaft der Universität Wien. Seit September 2007 ist er Mitglied des Vorstandes des IDM Wien, seit Juni 2008 Mitglied der Leibniz-Sozietät der Wissenschaften zu Berlin.   Print

  • Victoriya Sereda

    Sociologie, Ivan-Franko-Universität, Lviv
    Read more

  • Michel Serres

    Michel Serres ist Philosoph und Mitglied der Académie Française.   Print

  • Anton Shekhovtsov

    PhD in Political Science
    Read more

  • Marci Shore

    Associate Professor of History, Yale University

    Visiting Fellow
    (July 2020 – June 2021)
    Read more

  • Sławomir Sierakowski

    Director, Institute for Advanced Study, Warsaw; Founder, "Krytyka Polityczna" movement
    Read more

  • Sara Silverstein

    Ph.D. Candidate in Modern European and International History, Yale University
    Read more

  • Ondřej Slačálek

    Assistant Professor of Political Science, Charles University, Prague
    Read more

  • Aleksander Smolar

    Political Science, Paris
    Read more

  • Timothy Snyder

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Richard C. Levin Professor of History, Yale University
    Read more

  • George Soros

    George Soros is a pioneer of the hedge-fund industry, investor and philanthropist, he is the author of many books, including Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays (2012), The Soros Lectures: At the Central European University (2010), The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New Paradigm for Finance Markets (2009).   …
    Read more

  • Robert Spaemann

    Robert Spaemann ist Professor em. für Philosophie an der Universität München.   Print

  • Pawel Spiewak

    Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Philosophy, Warsaw University
    Read more

  • Wilfried Stadler

    Wilfried Stadler ist Unternehmensberater, Wirtschaftspublizist und Honorarprofessor an der Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien. Bis 2009 war er Vorstandsvorsitzender einer österreichischen Spezialbank für Unternehmensfinanzierung.   Print

  • Rudolf Stamm

    Rudolf Stamm war von 1975 bis 1988 Korrespondent der Neuen Zürcher Zeitung für Osteuropa und Österreich, anschließend bis 1999 für Italien, dann bis zu seiner Pensionierung 2002 für die USA mit Sitz in Washington D.C. Er starb 2010 in der Schweiz. 1985 erscheinen seine NZZ-Reportagen aus Osteuropa in dem Band Alltag und Tradition in Osteuropa. …
    Read more

  • Paul Starr

    Paul Starr ist Professor für Soziologie an der Princeton University und Mitherausgeber von The American Prospect. Er ist Pulitzer-Preisträger.   Print

  • Martina Steer

    ÖAW APART Fellow (History)
    Read more

  • Kristina Stoeckl

    Research Director
    APART Fellow, Austrian Academy of Sciences; Department of Political Sciences, University of Vienna
    Read more

  • Roman Szporluk

    Roman Szporluk is Professor em. of Ukrainian History at Harvard and Professor em. of History at the University of Michigan. He is a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences in Kiev, Ukraine. His research focuses on modern Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish history, and on Marxism and nationalism in Eastern Europe.   Print

  • Charles Taylor

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Professor em. of Philosophy, McGill University, Montréal
    Read more

  • Maria Teteriuk

    PhD candidate in Mass Communications and senior lecturer in Media Studies, National University of 'Kyiv-Mohyla Academy', Ukraine
    Read more

  • Philipp Ther

    Junior Professor of Polish and Ukrainian Studies, Europa-Universität Frankfurt / Oder
    Read more

  • Maria Todorova

    Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
    Read more

  • Balázs Trencsényi

    Balázs Trencsényi, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the Department of History, CEU. His research focuses on the comparative history of political thought in East Central Europe and the history of historiography. He is co-director of Pasts, Inc., Center for Historical Studies at CEU and Associate Editor of the periodical East Central Europe (Brill). He was …
    Read more

  • Stefan Troebst

    Read more

  • Marius Turda

    Lecturer in the Education Abroad Program, Eötvös Lorand University, Faculty of Humanities, Budapest
    Read more

  • Andreas Umland

    Andreas Umland ist Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Euro-Atlantische Kooperation Kiew sowie Herausgeber der Buchreihe Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, ibidem-Verlag Stuttgart. Print

  • Victoria Vasilenko

    Assistant Professor of Contemporary History and International Relations, Belgorod National Research University
    Read more

  • David G. Victor

    David G. Victor is a Professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego, where he directs the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation.   Print

  • Harald Welzer

    Harald Welzer ist Forschungsprofessor für Sozialpsychologie an der Universität Witten/Herdecke und Direktor des Center for Interdisciplinary Memory Research am Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts Essen.   Print

  • Karolina Wigura

    Adjunct of the History of Ideas, University of Warsaw; Co-Editor of Kultura Liberalna
    Read more

  • Volodymyr Yermolenko

    Volodymyr Yermolenko is a Ukrainian philosopher and essayist. He has a degree in Political Science from the EHESS, Paris, and teaches at Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kyiv. He is the author of the book Narrator and Philosopher: Walter Benjamin and his time (2011, in Ukrainian). Print

  • Oksana Zabuzhko

    Free-lance writer, Kiev
    Read more

  • Tatiana Zhurzhenko

    IWM Research Director, Russia in Global Dialogue and Ukraine in European Dialogue
    Read more