Over the last decade, liberal democracies in Europe have been shaken to their core by the rise of national populisms. This puts strong pressure on all forms of solidarity, especially as they cross ethnic-cultural boundaries. The increasingly successful capture of the notion of solidarity by radical right, anti-liberal democratic forces is testimony to this. The challenge for European democracies is to identify the conditions under which solidarities in diversity can be nurtured.
To address this urgent challenge, the European Training Network “Solidarity in Diversity” (SOLiDi) develops a training and research program that is focused on how to generate solidarities across cultural boundaries, taking the proximity of citizens with different ethnic-cultural backgrounds in specific places and the practices they engage in as starting point. Building on the strengths of the interculturalist paradigm, SOLiDi will contribute with an intersectional understanding of how place-based solidarity practices are shaped by and can work around entrenched social inequalities and unequal power relations.
To that end, SOLiDi brings together 10 academic partners from sociology, geography and educational science and 23 non-academic partners in an international, interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral training network for 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs). The research and training will prepare a cohort of highly-skilled professionals who are well-versed in a range of different approaches to generate solidarity in diversity and are able to apply these in different geographical, policy and organisational contexts. The overall aim is to articulate a new vision on solidarity adapted to superdiverse societies and to better equip professionals and organisations with adequate and innovative tools for facilitating solidarity in diversity.
SOLiDi will establish an innovative inter- and transdisciplinary European training network with the following objectives:
Objective 1: to combine insights from sociology, geography and social pedagogy to broaden our understanding of how solidarities can be generated across cultural boundaries, going beyond intercultural dialogue by paying explicit attention to inequality and power;
Objective 2: to articulate public pedagogies and organizational and policy strategies that support place-based solidarities in diversity; and
Objective 3: to promote social innovation by facilitating the translation of academic insights into skills to promote and analyse societal change through training in research methods and ethics, thus nurturing a cohort of distinctively European ‘solidarity in diversity’ professionals.
SOLiDi will train doctoral researchers both in the state of the art on sociological, geographical and educationalist insights on solidarity in diversity, place-based practices, interculturalism and intersectionality as well as in analytical and transferable skills on public pedagogies and organizational and policy strategies. In this way, the SOLiDi consortium aims to articulate a new, academically grounded and practice and policy-oriented vision on solidarity in diversity. SOLiDi will provide an alternative to the prevailing pessimism around living in diversity and train a cohort of professionals well equipped to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and professional interventions on living in diversity.
SOLiDi will provide an alternative to the prevailing pessimism around living in diversity or the lack of innovative ideas for local civil society and public actors that can work within often constraining institutional and legal frameworks. SOLiDi trains a cohort of professionals well equipped to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and professional interventions on living in diversity.