This book examines the ‘European refugee crisis’, offering an in-depth comparative analysis of how public attitudes towards refugees and humanitarian dispositions are shaped by political news coverage. An international team of authors address the role of the media in contesting solidarity towards refugees from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Focusing on the public sphere, the book follows the assumption that solidarity is a social value, political concept and legal principle that is discursively constructed in public contentions. The analysis refers systematically and comparatively to eight European countries, namely, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Treatment of data is also original in the way it deals with variations of public spheres by combining a news media claims-making analysis with a social media reception analysis. In particular, the book highlights the prominent role of the mass media in shaping national and transnational solidarity, while exploring the readiness of the mass media to extend thick conceptions of solidarity to non-members. It proposes a research design for the comparative analysis of online news reception and considers the innovative potential of this method in relation to established public opinion research. The book is of particular interest for scholars who are interested in the fields of European solidarity, migration and refugees, contentious politics, while providing an approach that talks to scholars of journalism and political communication studies, as well as digital journalism and online news reception.
Europe has witnessed the emergence of civic solidarity with people affected by the economic grievances, social exclusion or prosecution, particularly in reaction to the economic recession and so-called refugee crisis. Many of these practices of transnational solidarity were organized, thus providing research with important insights into the forms and conditions of transnational support activities. This paper makes use of a unique dataset of transnational solidarity organizations in eight European countries. It aims is to empirically describe the different forms and types of solidarity prevalent within different fields of action, and it strives to identify those organizational features that explain the choice for specific solidarity approaches. The empirical analysis validate that organization matters in explaining the preferred form of either vertical and/or horizontal approaches towards solidarity activism. Findings corroborate the relevance of professionalization and formalization, shared collective identities and values, and the preferred action repertoires used.
European solidarity has become a focal point of discussion in the recent decades. This chapter takes a closer look at European solidarity and develops a conceptual framework that distinguishes between different levels of aggregation and institutionalisation, namely informal citizens’ networks, organised civil societies and welfare states. The EU furnishes an instructive case because solidarity is organised and institutionalised in a more fragmented manner, when compared to the nation state. The chapter engages in a discussion of the implications of this peculiar situation, by presenting data about transnational solidarity by citizens’ groups and civil society organisations. The empirical findings show that civic initiatives and organisations across Europe are actively engaged in supporting troubled groups, and that the organisational field reacts to upcoming crises and grievances. At the same time, however, European civic solidarity exhibits moments of fragmentation, fragility and volatility, given the limitations of its institutional context.
The concluding chapter shifts attention to the diverging socio-economic and political contexts of transnational solidarity organisations from eight European countries, ranging from a severe impact of the Eurozone and migration policy crisis to experiences less affected by recent crises but more vigorously shaped by policy-driven aggravations due to austerity measures, welfare retrenchments and immigration restrictions. The conclusions also underline the considerable number of similarities between solidarity activities and discourses since activists everywhere are concerned about increasing grievances and social problems nurtured by recent crises and/or long-standing public policy transformations. In particular, they highlight salient parallels between most of the countries with regard to politicisation and contentiousness, cooperation and transnationalism and social learning and innovation, while also raising awareness for field-specific differences and particularities.
The purpose of this article is to examine whether and by what means traditional unions and other labour-oriented organisations engage in solidarity activities in favour of precarious workers and the unemployed. Our findings derive from qualitative data analysed from 10 in-depth interviews per country conducted as part of a large collaborative project with participants sampled from trade unions and other labour-oriented solidarity organisations based in three European national contexts: Greece, Poland, and the UK. Our aim here is to discern common features and differences in the strategies and answers given, within the three national contexts. To this end, we examine the actors engaged in labour solidarity; the value frames upon which these actions draw; the beneficiaries of their solidarity actions; the type of activities adopted mainly in favour of precarious workers and the unemployed; and their engagement in transnational labour solidarity activities.
This chapter discusses UK-based civil society organisations supporting vulnerable groups (migrants, refugees and asylum seekers; disabled people; and the unemployed) which have been on the front line of a decade of austerity and funding cuts. It does so by exploring the relationship between these organisations and policymakers; the impact of austerity on the organisations themselves; the mission and activities of these organisations and the cooperation between organisations at different scales (transnational, national and local). Our findings reveal a tale of ‘two Britains’: one of top-down policies and discourses which are anti-solidarity and re-activate decades-old discourses of dependency and deservingness; and another Britain of grassroots solidarity, (self-)organised from the bottom up, often in partnership with austerity-hit local government.
Citizens’ Solidarity in Europe systematically dissects the manifestations of solidarity buried beneath the official policies and measures of public authority in Europe. This critical book provides a comparative analysis of eight European countries, illustrating the scale of support for cross-national solidarity from both individuals and civic organizations. Contributors offer comprehensive and original data, analysing opinion polls, organizational fields and media content, to unpack the thoughts, opinions and attitudes of civil society. Chapters highlight the detrimental factors that tend to inhibit or annihilate solidarity, and those that are beneficial for the nurturing of solidarity. Offering innovative ideas and fresh data, this book will be crucial reading for researchers and students of sociology and political science, particularly those focused on European and comparative studies. Journalists, NGOs, public authorities and politicians will also benefit from its unique insight into public opinion.
This article examines collective action and the alliances between social movement organizations engaged in the work of solidarity with disabled people within and across borders during austerity. Building upon social movement theory, specifically political opportunities (Eisinger, 1973; McAdam, 1996) and resource mobilisation (McCarthy and Zald, 1977), we focus our analysis on data from in-depth interviews with thirty-five organizations at the UK and European levels, where we examine both how solidarity is operationalized by such organizations and the everyday cooperation and alliances they build with others in a UK policy context that has been hostile to disabled people (Bambra and Smith, 2010; Garthwaite, 2014) and a European context which disabled people's solidarity organizations have sought to seize as political opportunities. Our study therefore adopts a multi-level approach by analysing the building of alliances between organizations at the local, national and transnational levels and it reveals the impact of the political context and organisational pressures which can diminish resources and generate competition, thus placing strains on solidarity between disabled people. 2
The European 'crisis decade' triggered discussions about solidarity and it´s limits; at the policy level, the debates were mostly about determining the deservingness of solidarity of each vulnerable group, and at the street level, actors involved saw the demand for concrete service provision grow while their resources stayed the same or retrenched. This paper is interested in the limits of solidarity precisely at the street level; hence we investigate what combinations of operational conditions (budget, status, volunteers) lead the civil society organizations to engage in more solidarity activities (service provision and advocacy). Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are, beside the state and the family, a vital provider of solidarity services and a significant actor in advocacy for vulnerable groups. As any organization, CSOs are rationalised structures that pursue a concrete goal and for this purpose, rely on different resources and strategies. The paper, therefore, investigates configurations of operational conditions that account for higher levels of solidarity activities by CSOs in Germany and Greece. These countries have both experienced an increase in the demand of social services while they present different civil society traditions, different welfare systems and have been differently affected by crises. While Germany was less dramatically affected by the financial crisis and voluntarily took in almost a million refugees in 2016, Greece was severely hit by the financial crisis and, located at the EU borderland, has had a different experience with the inflow of migrants and refugees. The analysis builds on a series of semi-structured interviews conducted with CSO representatives of the social sector in the framework of the TransSOL project (www.trans sol.eu) in 2017. We employ a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to understand the necessary and sufficient conditions under which CSOs are more active, looking at their organizational traits and preconditions, their capacities to mobilise volunteers, their status in the community and their cross-sectional coverage of social issues.
The migration crisis of 2015 and 2016 was a litmus test for EU solidarity, when increasing numbers of newly arriving refugees fueled its public contestation. Our overall assumption is that the ‘refugee crisis’ contributed to a solidarity gap between inclusive liberal-cosmopolitan and exclusive communitarian attitudes in the EU. We investigate this assumption by contrasting positions regarding solidarity with refugees among state and societal actors. We base our analysis on a fresh dataset of solidarity claims in the largest print newspapers in Denmark, Germany, Greece and Italy for the period of August 2015 – April 2016 coded in the TransSOL project. These four countries were affected differently by the ‘crisis’ and differently attractive for refugees and asylum-seekers as arrival, destination or transit countries. Results suggest a solidarity gap between state actors and societal actors and a higher degree of solidarity contestation in countries with state actors strongly promoting exclusive notions of solidarity. Results speak to the discussion about media representations of migration as well as the contestation of solidarity as a fundamental value.
The article explores the influence of online participation on individual-level support for burden-sharing measures among EU member states. The analysis is set against the backdrop of the discussion about solidarity in times of EU crises and follows an innovative approach by operationalizing social inclusion in the European Union via online participation. It is argued that the specific nature of the European Union favors the use of online channels for political information and participation, but that despite its inclusive potential, online participation does not necessarily mean public support for the European Union. Instead, we hypothesize that people who make more use of online participation channels—thus are supposedly better equipped to participate in EU politics—are more critical in their evaluation of burden-sharing measures. Based on a large-scale survey among EU citizens in late 2016, we conduct a regression analysis taking into account the influence of EU support and general considerations on solidarity. Results lend support to our hypothesis that people who participate in political affairs online do not express greater support for EU burden-sharing measures but are more critical. Results are interpreted as an expression of the constraining dissensus regarding EU politics: Negative effects are read as criticism of how solidarity in the European Union is implemented, not as opposition to solidarity in the European Union as such.
Solidarity among member states, one of the European Union’s (EU) fundamental values, has recently been put to the test by numerous and diverse challenges that have led to a “crisis of solidarity.” In the United Kingdom, the decision in June 2016 by the electorate to vote to leave the EU revealed the British dimension of this crisis. However, little is known about the perceptions of other European citizens on this decision, even though it has contributed to shaping the present and future of the EU. In this article, using a representative survey conducted in eight European countries, including the United Kingdom, we aim to explore and contrast cross-country evidence on individual perceptions on Brexit. We then aim to establish if an association exists between the opinions on Brexit and the individual solidaristic attitudes and concrete behaviors of the survey respondents. The complex relationship between opinions on this event and expressions of solidarity at different levels (local, national, European, and beyond) will be explored using multivariate regression techniques as well as the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the survey respondents.
The comprehensive and systematic study of collective action organizations (AOs) requires a new methodological approach that takes into account the rise of online sources as well as the new ways in which people interact and participate in politics. This article aims to present and situate in the related literature such an approach, which was recently created and applied in two European Commission funded research projects, LIVEWHAT and TransSOL, across nine and eight countries respectively. Moving beyond recent studies using online sources, our research used a hubs website based approach to study alternative action organizations (AAOs) in the LIVEWHAT project and transnational solidarity AOs in the TransSOL project. The hubs and subhubs websites that aggregate data on AOs in multiple regions were scraped to identify national samples that offer advanced coverage of the repertoire of AO activities, as defined by the teams. These nodal websites were used as sources, similar to the way in which newspapers are treated in protest event analysis. The article situates and compares the new action organization analysis approach against its foundational protest event, protest case, and political claims analyses, as well as other approaches offering data on online activism. It outlines its main features and the related data construction process, while showcasing its application in the two European Commission cross-national projects. Finally, its merits and limitations are discussed, including a reference to how it can be used as a foundation for a mixed-methods approach.
Less than a fifth of Germans think the country is experiencing a “very serious” economic crisis. Encouraging labor market figures, steady growth rates, and a positive budget for consecutive years support this perception. However, in the literature there are strong claims made that a considerable portion of the public is not benefitting from the relatively benign economic conditions and is rather excluded economically, socially, and politically. We therefore ask which groups are especially sensitive to the crisis and what factors amplify perceptions of crisis. We argue that Germans feel under threat across classes because the positive economic situation is experienced as being contingent and precarious. Furthermore, we find that populism and dissatisfaction with government increase crisis susceptibility pointing to disappointment and alienation across society.
This volume is dedicated to the principle of solidarity. It examines the role of solidarity as a legal principle and as a component of public policies in eight European countries — Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Switzerland and the UK — and at the level of the European Union. It particularly focuses on developments in three areas: unemployment, immigration and asylum, and disability. The analyses show that solidarity is a common constitutional principle across the eight countries, and is thus a legitimate source of law, court rulings and policymaking. In the fields of unemployment, migration and disability, the legal frameworks are implicitly or explicitly committed to solidarity, but solidarity measures in these policy areas have been severely weakened since the various crises affecting the EU and other principles (such as security, competition and austerity) have prevailed. With contributions by Christian Lahusen, Veronica Federico, Deniz Neriman Duru, Thomas Spejlborg Sejersen, Hans-Jörg Trenz, Manlio Cinalli, Carlo de Nuzzo, Ulrike Zschache, Maria M. Mexi, Nicola Maggini, Janina Petelczyc, Eva Fernández G.G., Délia Girod, Tom Montgomery, Simone Baglioni, Ester di Napoli, Deborah Russo, and Tania Abbiate
Poland has been portrayed in scholarly literature as a country of low “civic” social capital and of strong familial bonds, as well as a country focused on in-group solidarity. The goal of the chapter is to shed light on the issue whether specific post-communist legacy of social capital affects solidarity practices. Adding to the literature on political solidarity, we make an insight into types of solidarity practices (protesting, donating time and donating money in order to support the others’ rights) and we investigate their geographical scope. In particular, we explore the role of bonding and bridging social capital in shaping solidarity behaviors in general and specifically its impact on transnational solidarity action.
The article explores the extent to which Europeans’ welfare attitudes explain (trans)national solidarity behavior. We set our analyses against the backdrop of the broader debate of welfare state consequences: Does a strong welfare state that is considered to take care of those in need diminish or strengthen citizens’ motivations to become engaged in helping others? We distinguish individuals’ solidarity behavior toward others within the welfare state, that is, citizens within one’s country, and outside the welfare state community of the respondents’ particular country. We further distinguish different others outside the welfare state, that is, between refugees, taking the refugee crisis in the European Union (EU) as a prime example, and citizens living in other countries—in EU countries and non-EU countries. As far as the main explanatory variables are concerned, we derive from the concept of “multidimensional welfare attitudes” and focus on five crucial dimensions of these attitudes, that is, welfare goals, range, degree, redistribution, and outcome. We draw on data collected within the EU project TransSOL and calculate a set of multilevel logistic regression models controlling for a wide range of individual (sociodemographic, economic, and political) variables. Overall, we observe that a “crowding in” effect, that is, higher support of the welfare state, goes in line with solidarity activity toward others including both “outsiders” and “insiders” of the national community.
Civil society organisations have been engaged in solidarity practices in various issue areas, both within their countries and beyond. This paper is interested in analysing whether and to what extent civic initiatives and organisations are involved in transnational solidarity activities within Europe. Moreover, it wishes to identify those factors that seem to promote or inhibit the scope of transnational European activities. The paper compares the situation in two countries (Greece and Germany) on the basis of data on transnationally-oriented civic groups and organisations committed to organising solidarity activities in three fields of work (disabilities, unemployment and immigration of refugees). The analyses show that most solidarity organisations remain active primarily at the local and/or national level/s, and that only a minority of solidarity organisations are engaged in cross-national activities. European activities are associated with organisations maintaining a web of transnational partners and a more politicised mission. Moreover, formalisation and professionalisation seem to be conducive to transnational activism, as much as to global activism. These findings show that cross-national activism can develop at the grass-roots level on the basis of a transnational organisational field that is not necessarily dependent on organisational linkages to the supra- and intergovernmental field of European governance.
The chapter investigates patterns of solidarity activity in Germany regarding the national, European and non-European level as well as refugees, unemployed and disabled people. We use multinomial regression to test a number of factors, including socio-economic variables but also subjective positioning, ideational factors, motifs and political beliefs. We find only limited socio-economic patterns and thus emphasize that solidarity is shaped by feelings of attachment. And attachment to different groups differs: it is highest towards disabled people and lowest, comparing our three issue fields, towards refugees. Our results indicate that solidarity depends not only on spatial proximity but also on social proximity. Political beliefs, too, matter as they seem to indicate deservingness of particular groups. This explains the different levels of solidarity towards the investigated groups.
This open access volume provides evidence-based knowledge on European solidarity and citizen responses in times of crisis. Does the crisis of European integration translate into a crisis of European solidarity, and if yes, what are the manifestations at the level of individual citizens? How strongly is solidarity rooted at the individual level, both in terms of attitudes and practices? And which driving factors and mechanisms contribute to the reproduction and/or corrosion of solidarity in times of crisis? Using findings from the EU Horizon 2020 funded research project “European paths to transnational solidarity at times of crisis: Conditions, forms, role-models and policy responses” (TransSOL), the books addresses these questions and provides cross-national comparisons of eight European countries – Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, and the UK. It will appeal to students, scholars and policymakers interested in the Eurocrisis, politics and sociology.
The concluding chapter paints a comparative picture of civic solidarity within and across European member states. For this purpose, we describe the main findings from our survey by presenting and highlighting the various levels of solidarity-driven practices and attitudes in comparative terms. Additionally, we identify the importance of European solidarity when compared to national or global solidarities in Europe. Finally, the chapter assembles the knowledge presented by the various national chapters, showing that solidarity—and European solidarity in particular—is driven by similar forces in the various countries under analysis. Overall, the chapter suggests that the idea of social citizenship becomes key for the development of European solidarity.
This report presents preliminary findings about the activities of civil society organizations (CSOs) working in the filed of migration/asylum, disability and unemployment in the UK. It reflects also the impact of the economic crisis and austerity policies on these CSOs' work. The report is part of a research delivery of the Horizon 2020 project TransSOL.