Solidarity is traditionally a social duty or a reciprocal obligation of aid and assistance or of gracious collaboration. It exists between the people of a group or a community because of the bond that unites them. There is no solidarity outside of a closed group.
Solidarity is an obligation within a defined social group. The word is misused to also designate altruism, generosity or charity.
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), French sociologist, showed that solidarity could take different forms :
- mechanical solidarity, based on the similarity of individuals in traditional societies with a strong collective conscience,
- organic solidarity, linked to interdependencies in modern societies due to the division of labor and individualism.
The sociologist makes solidarity a primarily social attitude and not the result of individual moral action.
In these times of crisis and this holiday season we need everyone’s solidarity more than ever!