The Epistemics of Solidarity: ARTEFACT-SOLIDARITY investigates Imaginaries of the Global in Solidarity across Difference

Global solidarity is in crisis. Not only have the “globalists” been viciously attacked by right-wing politicians in the OECD-world, the traditional “receivers” of solidarity in the Global South have increasingly highlighted the dependencies created in the project of global solidarity. In the aftermath of the postcolonial critique of development, progress and paternalism, one could get the impression that the “claim to the global” is itself problematic. Solidarity movements have therefore tended to localize, both geographically and in substance. “Another world is possible” simply sounds too abstract and too detached from the life worlds of many.

How, then, is solidarity across difference possible? ARTEFACT-Solidarity investigates the ways in which solidarity politics across difference depend on and often fail due to their specific conceptions of “the global”: many attempts at solidarity have been delegitimized because of their expansionist and prescriptive impulses. Yet, the making-global of particular epistemic norms appears logically prior to render solidarity across difference meaningful – and to practice it accordingly. Hence, there is a strong connection between solidarity with "others" on the one hand, and the concept of the global and its generalizing, universalist attire on the other.

Building on these tensions, this project theorizes how practices of solidarity across difference are constituted by a specific imaginary of “the global”, and how new forms of world-making with their encompassing global imaginaries are constructed by these very practices. The four attempts of world-making that will be examined are:

  1. Liberal Post-War Internationalism in the Green Agriculatural Revolution
  2. Third Way Globalism: “Solidarist Internationalism” at the Bandung Conference
  3. Distancing the Self from the Global: Praising the Particular in Third Wave Feminism
  4. Appropriating the Global from Below: La Via Campesina’s Fight for Group Rights

The project traces the ways in which solidarity across difference is practiced and the imaginaries of the global that are mobilized in these diverse movements. The results shall illuminate how specific imaginaries of the global can underlie, fuel and destroy solidarity across difference.

ARTEFACT-Solidarity is part of the ERC-funded ARTEFACT project.


Image: Dolorosa Sinaga: Solidaritas (2000)