In many Western countries, there is a common belief that solidarity – the social phenomenon of group loyalty and the sharing of resources – requires cultural homogeneity. International migration and increasing ethnic and cultural identity are seen as challenging both formal mechanisms of redistribution within national social security systems as well as informal acts of solidarity, personal support and care. In contrast to such pessimist accounts, this session aims to explore the potential of innovative forms of solidarity that transcend ethnic and cultural differences.
The session reports on a large Flemish collaborative research project on place-based forms of solidarities that transcend ethnic and cultural boundaries. In this research project, sociologists, human geographers and planners, political scientists and social and cultural educationalists analyzed the multiple sources of solidarity in diversity, the role of a relational sense of place in nurturing new forms of solidarity, the complex relationship between place-based forms of solidarity and citizenship practices and the different ways in which people learn to become part of communities of solidarity.
The empirical analysis consists of 30 in depth case studies, including several action research trajectories, on place-based forms of solidarity in diversity in the area of work, leisure, education and housing. On the basis of this empirical research, and together with more than 50 Flemish civil society organisations and public agencies who closely followed up and gave input in the research process, we came to a range of conclusions on the conditions under which new forms of solidarity in diversity emerge or fail to emerge.
The workshop starts with an introduction on place-based forms of solidarity in diversity and the conditions under which they emerge by the project coordinator Stijn Oosterlynck (University of Antwerp). After this, Ikrame Kastit, co-director of the youth welfare organization Uit de Marge and Green Party member of the Antwerp City Council, will reflect on the potential of place-based forms of solidarity for addressing the contemporary challenge of superdiversity. In the last part of the workshop, we would like to hear from the audience. What are your experiences with place-based forms of solidarity? Under which conditions does it emerge or fail to emerge?
More information on the DieGem (Diversity and Community Development) can be found here: http://www.solidariteitdiversiteit.be/diegem_en.php
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