“Solidarity” in the Migration Literature: A Critical Review of the Concept

Authors: Harald Bauder*, Ryerson University
Topics: Migration, Political Geography, Immigration/Transnationalism
Keywords: migration, solidarity, activism, borders, political geography
Session Type: Paper
Scheduler ID: FRI-044-3:20 p.m.
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Poydras, Sheraton, 3rd Floor


While the migration literature increasingly acknowledges that migrants are active subjects, migration experiences are also embedded in structural conditions and connected to wider social struggles. The concept of solidarity has been critical in this respect, and has been widely applied in the migration literature. However, a cursory look at this literature suggests that migration researchers rarely define the concept in their work. Moreover, the way “solidarity” is used in the literature is highly ambiguous and implies various intellectual approaches and ideological perspectives. In this paper, I therefore present the results of a systematic literature review of the concept. I anticipate that the results will show that the literature draws on a range of perspectives of solidarity, including faith-inspired ideas of compassion, the pursuit of self-interest, and engagement in political subject formation. I propose that in-depth and reflexive engagement with the concept of solidarity is a crucial but neglected aspect of critical migration research.

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