Solidarity is a concept used in a wide range of ways by humanitarian actors at “international” or “global”, regional (e.g. “European”), and “national”, “local”, “community”, “social” and “human” levels.
As the word cloud shows, it is strongly associated with “democracy”, “justice”, “tolerance”, “trust”, “equality” and “empowerment”.
Most of the concepts related to solidarity emphasise a collective element, such as “cooperation”, “sharing”, “unity”, “friendship” and “citizenship”. That “campaigning” and “building” feature prominently may indicate that solidarity is something humanitarians work towards or strive for, often in “groups” or “networks”.
Solidarity can be realised in a range of ways: from “movements”, “activism” and “campaigns”, to “action”, “work”, “projects”, to “economic” means and “funds”.
- How important is the concept of solidarity to humanitarian action in the Caribbean, Central and South America region? Why do you think the concept appears most frequently in documents from this region, and least frequently in documents from North America?
- Why do organisations that work more directly with people in need of humanitarian assistance (e.g. NGOs, religious entities) refer to solidarity more frequently than organisations that contribute to the humanitarian architecture or information and coordination activities (e.g. think tanks, project/service providers, states)?
- Bayertz (1999) discusses four theoretical uses of solidarity: universalistic, civic, social, political. To what extent does humanitarian action in your experience reflect each of these uses?
- Solidarity (both its existence and absence) has been a major feature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mazzola and Martinello argue that solidarity with migrants has broken down in the European context. Do you agree? How has humanitarian response for displaced populations and people on the move changed due to COVID-19?
- How important is the concept of solidarity to voluntarism and the recruitment of volunteers, which is essential for the operations of many humanitarian organisations?
- How can the solidarity that often peaks in times of urgent need and crisis be leveraged to sustain risk reduction and disaster preparedness efforts?
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Please note: The overview on this page represents a first summary and exploratory analysis of the concept, proposed by the HE core team for discussion, on the basis of preliminary linguistic data. It is not the full concept entry which will be based on rigorous linguistic methodology and collaboration with humanitarian practitioners and experts.
Coming soon: Expanded concept explanations, visualisations and analysis for this and 17 other COVID-19 related concepts.
The occurrence of solidarity in the document collection grew steadily from 2005 until 2018, when it dropped suddenly, though it is unclear why.
Solidarity appears most frequently in documents from the Caribbean, Central and South America region, but least frequently in documents from North America.
NGOs and NGO federations, religious entities and foundations use the concept of solidarity more frequently than states, project/service providers and think tanks.
For further information on the COVID-19 epidemic and its impact in humanitarian settings, please see: