Call for Papers: The Difficulties of Solidarity
This issue of Critical Times probes the question of solidarity—its subjects, horizons, difficulties, and limits. In some social-theoretical accounts, solidarity is a force that coheres subjects, holds them together in one community, and coordinates their aspirations, sympathies, or interests in perfect unity. Solidarity, in other words, transcends differences to generate unity; indeed, it converts difference into sameness. And when such differences persist or reappear in new forms, solidarity is said to be in danger or to have failed. Yet this is neither the only archive nor the only horizon of solidarity. Other historical and contemporary practices of solidarity offer distinct grammars and horizons: from anticolonial solidarity to contemporary migrant solidarity, solidarity emerges as less a given social force and more an incomplete, imperfect challenge of attaching and connecting subjects, predicaments, and struggles in ways that move beyond inclusion and point to radical transformation.
What accounts of politics and ethics do such practices of solidarity offer? How have they transformed historically and what geographic imaginaries have these transformations triggered (e.g., from internationalist to international solidarity)? What images and horizons, other than unity and cohesion, are summoned by vocabularies of solidarity from other languages? How can we think solidarity in relation to adjacent formations, including friendship, kinship, or comradeship? Might the thinking of solidarity as a challenge—as distinct from the challenge of solidarity itself—illuminate an unsynchronized world, at once broken and mended? And if solidarity requires the presence of subjects and associations, is it possible to solidarize with the wretched of the earth or survivors of catastrophes other than by rescuing and aiding them, speaking on their behalf, or supplementing and completing them? Who solidarizes and who remains incapable of such solidarization? Indeed, what are the contours of solidarity today? Might we contemplate the limits of solidarity and its associated impossibilities? And if we do, what other political and ethical work beyond solidarity shall follow?
This special issue of Critical Times addresses these questions in an effort to investigate both the limits of solidarity and the work of solidarization. We welcome contributions in various forms, from interviews to academic essays, and we encourage submissions written from a range of critical and political perspectives.
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