5th Conference of the Critical Communication Studies Network: «Solidarity» (Alemania)

Inicio: 19/09/2024 Fin: 21/09/2024


Paderborn University



At our fifth conference, we are focussing on a key topic of our time: solidarity. Given the multiple crises of our time, solidarity appears to be a key solution on the one hand. On the other hand, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have observed a veritable proliferation of the discourse on solidarity (Susemichel & Kastner, 2021, p. 7). As with any inflationary use of a term, the object rapidly lost its value: neither did the applauded care workers experience concrete solidarity by means of better working conditions and wages, nor did the global distribution of vaccines follow this premise – instead, countries of the Global South were systematically disadvantaged. This is another reason why solidarity, as sociologist Stephan Lessenich wrote before the pandemic, threatens to become a ’social feel-good category‘ without much consequence due to the harmlessness of its invocation, which does not commit us to anything (ibid., p. 8).

This shows the ambiguity of the concept of solidarity. On the one hand, it can refer to large anonymous groups, but on the other hand, it can also refer to small, non-anonymous groups, thereby changing its meaning and function (Dallinger, 2009). In addition, solidarity, in the sense of its three conditions according to Bayertz (1998), is always particular and exclusive due to its normative charge. This means that if we cannot do without solidarity, the question arises as to how it can be critically conceived from an interdisciplinary perspective. 

We would like to encourage a new and critical examination of solidarity in and through media and communication studies: As a potential for solving the aforementioned global multiple crises (financial, ecological, political and social) and the associated intensification of inequality and experiences of alienation (Sevignani, 2017, p. 6). To this end, we want to address the topic of solidarity at our conference on different, interlocking and partly overlapping levels: 

  • Focus ISolidarity as a subject of academia: Here we present and discuss current critical research on the topic of solidarity.
  • Focus IISolidarity as a form of academia: Here we practise solidarity and explore the scope for solidarity-based co-operation between critical research and society. 
  • Focus III: Solidarity in the production of academia: Here we reflect on the conditions of our daily work as scholars and discuss solidarity in teaching and research.

More information: Details (dgphil.de)