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Donnerstag, 16.01.2020


Solidarity in the City!?

17:00 - 18:30 Uhr
Sowi Hörsaal 1, A-6020 Innsbruck, Universitätsstraße 15

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Eintritt / Kosten: Keine


Dr. Caroline Schmitt

Professor ad interim in Social Pedagogy, University of Trier, Faculty I – Educational Sciences

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Since the "long summer of migration" in 2015, we are experiencing a social outcry of high ambivalence: While many people show solidarity with refugees, engage themselves in volunteer work and demonstrations against deportation, others scandalize an anticipated fear of alienation and call for a society that draws and maintains limits of belonging (Hess et al., 2016). Appeals for solidarity meet with policies aiming to isolate Asylum-seeking people and to create borders and barriers for those seeking refuge in Europe and countries of the global North (von Grönheim, 2017).

While the European governments haven’t found a collective solution yet, civil society, urban communities, refugees themselves, and volunteers are in search of own social action to solve what has been named a "refugee crisis" in public discourse. Numerous cities have declared themselves "Solidarity Cities" and demand a fearless urban space in which all people can participate equally. Demonstrations of refugees and people in solidarity give an alternative image of people in search for refuge showing their agency even in circumstances that are complicated and hard to cope with. These fields of solidarity become visible in urban space. They express shared values of people that ask for social change and are experimental fields for a "good life" in a world risk society (Beck, 2007) characterized by global problems and confusion.

The lecture gives an insight into the paradoxes of these solidarities. One the one hand, it asks how people make themselves visible as agentative subjects and how they create values and solidarity collectively in public spaces. On the other hand, it discusses a simultaneous desolidarization and rejection of responsibility for urgent social problems. The lecture reveals the possibilities as well as the ambivalences of solidarity: It has inherent potential to draw attention to social grievances in a critically manner, but it can conceal power inequalities at the same time if it shortens itself to a "romanticized solidarity" (Castro Varela, Heinemann, 2016).


Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft