The Solidary Relationship’s Consequences for the Ebb and Flow of Activism: Collaborative Evidence from Life-History Interviews and Social Media Event Analysis

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Acting in solidarity with deprived others has become a central topic in social movement research. The explanations of solidarity activism or political altruism are few. However, social movement researchers have claimed that solidarity with out-of-group others is a by-product of in-group interaction. In contrast, we argue that out-group interaction with the deprived other and the formation of a solidary relationship is central to the ebb and flow of solidarity activism. We investigate the Danish refugee solidarity movement and show that the meeting with the deprived other 1) brings about an interaction order which makes an ethical demand on the activists to care for the other both within the bounds of the situations and in the future; 2) enacts and amplifies activists’ values and beliefs because the deprived other becomes an exemplar of the injustice and the need to help the broader group of people in the same fragile situation. We develop and test this theory drawing on 42 life-history interviews and a social media dataset containing a panel of 87,455 activists participating in refugee solidarity groups.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Forum
Volume35
Issue number3
ISSN0884-8971
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Sep 2020

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - Activist persistence, life-history interviews, solidarity activism, social movements, social media event analysis, symbolic interactionism

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