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Reinventing Social Solidarity Across Europe$
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Marion Ellison

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847427274

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847427274.001.0001

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Embedding European identity in context: changing social solidarities in Europe

Embedding European identity in context: changing social solidarities in Europe

Chapter:
(p.83) Six Embedding European identity in context: changing social solidarities in Europe
Source:
Reinventing Social Solidarity Across Europe
Author(s):

Jim Barry

Elisabeth Berg

John Chandler

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847427274.003.0006

This chapter argues that discussions of ‘solidarity’ in a European context tend to be based on a top-down conception in which it is seen as embedded in fiscal and social policies designed to provide a minimum level of social security to all European citizens. At the same time, it is widely recognized that the pervasive influence of neo-liberalism has rendered such policies problematic and undermined their legitimacy. However, as Clarke has argued, neo-liberalism is ‘enacted in different hybridized formations – in different national politics, in different regional contexts’. The chapter focuses on one source of opposition to neo-liberal reforms in the vibrant and contentious energies of social movements. Such social movement activity does not just occur on the streets or in political forums external to the welfare state – it also occurs within the state apparatus, as welfare professionals sometimes act in concert with others on the basis of values and ideas forged through their broader social movement participation. This analysis suggests that instead of focusing on ‘top-down’ conceptions of solidarity, we should begin to look at the forms taken by such ‘bottom-up’ kinds of solidarity.

Keywords:   solidarity, social movements, Europe, neo-liberalism, welfare

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