Solidarity and the signification of compliance


Solidarity has become a key concept in the discourses surrounding the Covid-19 crisis. In this blog post, I will analyze the utilization of the concept within the pandemic context in Germany I argue that the utilization of this concept is central in epitomizing the securitized dividing-line between the hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourses and the ways in which they construct the current crisis. The concept solidarity expresses different understandings of the very nature of the crisis. The hegemonic discourse focuses on the dangers associated with Covid-19, while the counter-hegemonic discourse tends to construct the application of measures and political re-configurations as the foundational danger and crisis. Both of these mutually exclusive interpretations of the underlying crisis find a focus in the concept of solidarity and the practices attached to it. Thus, it has been employed to signify who is worthy or unworthy of solidarity, thereby defining which groups and what types of needs and suffering are being seen and which measures are to be taken for their protection. It has also developed into a justification for organizing social and political inclusion and exclusion from both the hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourses in their respective oppositional ways. In this sense, the notion of solidarity has become a battleground for underlying interpretations of the crisis situation itself. While this appears to be the case in several countries with varying degrees of overlap in national discourses, this blog post concentrates primarily on the German context.

Solidarity – slippery and over-determined?

In the context of the Covid-19 crisis discourses, solidarity has developed into a slippery concept in the sense that it is used to refer to a wide variety of practices and subject-positions. Yet, it is also over-determined as it has come to stand in for an entire discourse and its logic: Solidarity has come to signify support for the hegemonic understanding of the nature of the Covid-19 crisis. This includes a definition of the nature of the crisis, the level of threat posed by the virus, the acceptance of and compliance with political decision-making and health-measures taken in response to it, as well has hopes for the saving of lives and a better future. In other words, a new common political project has been constructed which forms the basis for a discursively-bound community. The notion of solidarity is slippery in three related senses. First, it binds together rather different subject-positions and practices as representing solidarity. Second, it necessarily discriminates between practices which are and aren’t included into its framework of solidarity. Third, the notion of solidarity itself has changed during the post-Cold War period of neoliberal politics. It increasingly refers to solidarity with those who are compliant and has largely lost its class-based origins – a shift that becomes particularly apparent during this crisis discourse. To explore these aspects of use of the term solidarity further, both some theoretical background and conceptual history are necessary.

Solidarity – a brief conceptual history

The term solidarity goes back to Roman civil law. Solidus means dense and firm. Derived from this, the Roman legal concept obligation in solidum referred to “an obligation for the whole, cooperative liability, common debt and solidarity obligation […] One for all, all for one” – a meaning similarly taken on by French jurisprudence.[1] These roots refer to a utilization of the concept in various social contexts. Butler and Snaith argue that “the classical definition of solidarity is a bind of some form with other creatures within a group – often those of similar characteristics”. Taking on different forms “it includes duties towards others within a similar group, notions of the group striving to achieve common aims and objectives, as well as a means of facilitating cohesion and enabling trust”.[2] However, the term has predominantly been appropriated by class-based struggles and Marxist forces, including Europe’s revolutions from the first half of the 19th century onwards, but also the first Workers’ International (1864), whose rules invoked the “solidarity among workers of various trades in every country”. Later the Polish labor movement referred to the concept directly by naming itself Solidarność.[3] Consequentially, solidarity, in the 19th and 20th century, has turned into a sign of reciprocity, standing together in the face of exploitation and left-wing efforts to establish societies oriented toward the principles of economic and social equality. In this, it symbolizes cohesion and common responsibility amongst all those who understand themselves to suffer a similar fate in the face of an oppressing force. It is also associated with the inclusion of those who need our solidarity, the underdog, the socially excluded or vulnerable (cf. the contribution by Christiane Barnickel and Dorothea Horst). The notion of solidarity founded on and forging equality among its members, is closely interconnected with the development and understanding of modern democracy and the notion of the welfare state, in particular.[4] Every concept, however, is also exclusive on a definitional basis – that is, it has to have an outside, aspects that do not signify it. In this respect, we are dealing with a particularly interesting concept, which shows potential contradictions within itself that precede any actual application. Directed at concrete situations, practices or subject-positions against which solidarity is conceived of as necessary, the term also carries a latent history of exclusions from a particular in-group. In the context of Marxist and broader leftist traditions, for instance, it is immediately apparent that this notion of solidarity cannot extend to all persons and groups, nor to all issues. The concept of solidarity itself forms in-groups and out-groups and with the thematic focus also discourses and forms of practice that are on the one hand excluded from receiving solidarity and on the other hand simply not considered as representing it.

The decline of the concept of (re-distributional) solidarity in the context of neoliberalism

Solidarity has not been a central component of public policy or discourse in Western democracies in recent decades. This is true for both as solidarity as a normative force as well as the practices associated with inclusion of economically and socially weaker members of society. Since the rise of neoliberal policies as proclaimed by Reagan, Thatcher, and Kohl in the 1980s, albeit in slightly different shapes, both forms of utilization have markedly been in decline. Concepts such as the ‘market-conforming democracy’ have been the focus of political debates and may be said to describe the core elements of developments within political practices since.[5] Neoliberal thinking has led to a marked shift in the conceptualization of public redistributive solidarity particularly after the seemingly conclusive fall of all things associated with ‘communism’ or ‘socialism’ – summed up Fukuyama’s now famous notion of the end of history.[6] A small number of leftist outfits remain the exception that proves the hegemonic rule. In concrete terms, neoliberal reforms of western societies entailed a shift toward a dominant mindset and glorification of competition between individuals in a credo of ‘each for him/herself’ on a seemingly ‘free’ market. Struggles for solidarity, on the other hand, were relegated to the political margins. While core practices of solidarity have been perpetuated via the notion of the welfare state, this too, has been subjected to a process of dismantlement over the past decades with the privatization of formerly public assets and services – both in Germany and other Western democratic states. Examples of this demolition can be seen in reforms in the field of unemployment insurance, as well as the privatization of public infrastructure, including education, water, sanitation and health insurance as well as formerly public pension funds in Western Europe, the UK and the U.S. Similarly, the term solidarity was hardly to be found in dominant public discourse, apart from leftist fringe parties and advocate groups, with regard to poverty among children, the elderly or working-class representations. Finally, and not least of all, the privatization, and the reduction of the principle of solidarity has made its way through the German and European health care systems with the underfunding and privatization of large numbers of hospitals. By doing so the primary goal of these institutions has effectively been deflected away from solidarity-based public health and toward private profit. In this process health care workers have been subjected to the same pressures of the market as other professions.[7] In conclusion, one might argue that solidarity had largely been banned from the dominant public discourse as the societal model that had carried its banners had lost the in the competition of systems.

Two examples of discourses and practices about solidarity during this time offer some insight into the gradual shift which the meaning of solidarity has undergone. A ground-braking reform of the German unemployment system took place in two steps in 2003 and 2006. It marked the shift from a welfare state-based system of unemployment insurance which guaranteed relatively stable compensation to one of reduced benefits and increased pressure.  Under the new laws, after one year benefits received are reduced to the minimum survival level, and sanctions are applied  if the person in question fails to conform to any of the mandatory reports and conditions. We find, in essence, the transformation toward a system which bases solidarity on the compliance with rules which take place in an increasingly neoliberal economic framework.

European policies in the wake of the 2007/08 financial crisis have followed a very similar pattern. The crisis was primarily the result of financial market de-regulation and the ensuing housing bubble. It was further aggravated by capital-flight following the onset of the crisis, resulting in a sovereign debt crisis. Nevertheless the main concern both in public discourse and European policy was the stabilization of the financial system alongside currencies.[8] As most banks were deemed to be ‘systemically relevant’ and ‘too big to fail’, states saved the vast majority of banks by taking responsibility for ‘bad banks’, the defaulting loans of banks, re-distributing the costs to taxpayers and those who lost their homes as a result of the crisis while leaving the financial market continue to operate without significant additional regulations. Particularly among Southern European countries with higher sovereign debt/GDP rations such as Greece, the ensuing austerity policy has resulted in further losses of solidarity-based public services and substantially increased levels of poverty, leading to decreased levels of health and life-expectancy.[9] In the realm of linguistic public discourse, the notion of solidarity gained some traction during the ensuing period of austerity. Several major media-outlets fostered the understanding  to essentially integrate the notion of solidarity with that of compliance within the set of rules prescribed by austerity and neoliberalism. That is, solidarity was meant for those who complied with the conditionality of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – irrespective of the costs for populations and democratic elections (see Greece).[10] In this manner, while the concept of solidarity was discussed, it continued in the trend of circumscribing worthy and unworthy recipients by measuring compliance within a neoliberal capitalist economic set-up.[11]

The (re-)signification of solidarity during the Covid-19 Crisis – a discourse hegemony analysis

With the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, the concept of solidarity has gained a new standing in public discourse, particularly in Germany. The understanding of the notion of solidarity has developed into an antagonistic dividing-line between hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourses surrounding the current Covid-19 crisis. In the hegemonic discourse, solidarity has been constructed to represent a particular understanding of the crisis, the necessity of particular health-related measures and hopes and narratives for a better future to be achieved through these. This discourse is represented by the government policy and sanctioning as well as the perspectives of the vast majority of leading media outlets, with the partial exception of BILD. Voices who severely question this discourse including the non-compliance with measures, have been declared dangerous and illegitimate voices who should not be engaged with or listened to on an agonistic democratic basis. Counter-hegemonic discourses, on the other hand, have expressed fundamental opposition to the foundational logic of the hegemonic discourse, including the nature of the crisis and the health-related measures as the actual core of the crisis. In this context, dislocations within the notion of solidarity have been questioned explicitly. More dominantly, however, the different subject-positions subsumed into a discourse on solidarity have been attacked as inacceptable.

The Essex School of discourse studies offers two interrelated concepts which are extremely helpful in making sense of the discursive function which the concept solidarity fulfils within the current crisis discourse:  The notion of the empty signifier and the potential shift between agonistic and antagonistic modes of discourse that can be observed in this context. Both can aid our understanding of the multiple reconfigurations of the Political which inform this discourse. In this perspective, we find a focus on the formation of hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourses organized along antagonistic lines of division. From this theoretical perspective and within the context at hand, the formation of discursive coalitions, group affiliations and identity formation via concepts that are constructed to represent and reflect an entire discourse are particularly vital. Empty signifiers in the terminology of Laclau and Mouffe (2001) refer to concepts which subsume under their umbrella different discursive elements by emphasizing their equality with respect to the central concept – such as solidary while de-emphasizing differences between individual articulations of the term. Through this mechanism, empty signifiers can contain conflicting or even opposing discursive articulations. Such nodal points come to stand in for an entire discourse and the logic that binds it together. Laclau and Mouffe have demonstrated this relationship with regard to discourses surrounding post-colonial independence movements,  whose diverse subject-positions including different aims, hopes and practices may become represented by empty signifier of national liberation. Discourses gain power and influence by continually subsuming additional subject-positions under their umbrella. However, discourses are never able to fully occupy the entire discursive space – always bordering on other discourses which offer alternative perspectives onto the same area of phenomena. It is at the point where two different discourses seeking to establish meaning for the same area of phenomena negate each other’s fundamental logic that the expansion of a discourse is curtailed. Referencing an instance of popular demonstrations for freedom and the end of arbitrary arrests, Laclau argues that “the meaning of ‘arbitrary’ and ‘arrests’ can be modified through further articulations but justice cannot also mean ‘prevalence of the people over all legal restrictions’” precisely because such a demand negates its central and foundational premise of instituting some rule to the manner in which arrests take place.[12] It is at this point when a discourse is confronted with the radical negativity, that is, with the denial of its own foundational logic of constructing reality, that a hegemonic discourse formation arises and antagonistic relationships are formed. Based on these insights, Chantal Mouffe argues that even when discourses confront each other in a hegemonic discourse formation, we are not doomed to an antagonistic relationship between different political projects. Rather, by defining democratic values and rules as a common basis shared by the opposing forces, we can shift from an antagonistic to an agonistic relationship – one in which the Other does not represent an enemy but a legitimate democratic adversary.

The hegemonic discourse – solidarity and compliance

Within the particularities of the Covid-19 crisis discourse, the concept of solidarity in Germany was initially related to the support for medical practitioners. Practices such as evening applauding for the nursing staff were established over a short period of time. Similar practices included communal singing in the same context – as an attempt of contact and community reassurance during the first lockdown. As the crisis progressed, various practices of social distancing, mask wearing, and more or less exhaustive socio-economic ‘lockdowns’ were incorporated into the signifier of solidarity. With the availability of vaccines, the concept of solidarity has been extended to their uptake. The hopes and perspectives informing these practices as instances of solidarity were and continue to be the protection of fragile persons, the prevention of an over-extension of intensive care units through increased hospitalization as well as hopes for a return to pre-pandemic rules of life. The concept of solidarity thus now encompasses a conglomerate of different practices which, in turn, presuppose specific ways of understanding the crisis, proposing solutions to the situation in line with these and constructing particular discourse coalitions.

In this context, the concept of solidarity has gained a function of defining and representing the discursive logic of the hegemonic discourse and delineating the boundaries to its constitutive outside. This also includes forms of subjectivities and identities – the definition of Self and Other.  A series of public posters campaign organized by the Berlin administrative council offers an early example of this process of in- and exclusion. It presents us with an elderly woman raising her middle finger to those people not wearing face masks (cf. Iveta Žákovská’s post on Czech humorous memes).[13] We have also witnessed a wealth of representations including (social) media memes, and theatrical plays, amongst others, in public service media, at times ironic but at times also exhibiting rather aggressive representations of those not conforming with interpretation and measures .[14] The notion that the responsible subject acts in accordance with mandated measures creates a line of inclusion and exclusion into the realm of the socially acceptable. This social construction is paralleled in the physical inclusion into and exclusion from public life along the dividing line of compliance with measures. Thus, while persons who have not received Covid-19 vaccinations have for extended periods of time been banned from aspects of social and cultural life, the same extends also to economic life to various degrees.[15]

This securitization of compliance with Covid-19 measures has led to the explicit overruling of previous constitutionally guaranteed rights (on securitization see also Elena Dück’s blog post).[16] Similarly, several private media companies as well as public entities have declared the dissemination of misinformation, essentially defined as information critical of official policy lines, to be dangerous and several online news platforms were indeed threatened to be closed by regulatory agencies of various federal states on similar grounds. [17]

The practices associated with solidarity have become the solutions constructed in the face of securitization of Covid-19. Vaccine uptake versus vaccine hesitancy or refusal has occupied an especially potent role.[18] Those persons who severely question or do not comply with the demands of solidarity are constructed as dangerous and irresponsible for threatening collective health.[19] President of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, has introduced the notion of the ‘tyranny of the unvaccinated’ into the public discourse. He confounded metaphors of war and terrorism by directing them at persons and practices rather than merely the virus itself as had been the case during earlier phases of the crisis.[20]

In this context, a certain paradox can be discovered in the terminology, as solidarity has traditionally been associated with proximity, ‘standing together’ and cohesion until the onset of this crisis. We can hence observe that the concept’s meaning has undergone a sharp change here and has become attached to a rather novel set of practices.[21] While solidarity has on the one hand been connected to the compliance with various practices, the practices deemed to be expressions of solidarity have at the same time been defined as representing reason and science themselves as expressed in the much-repeated plea: ‘trust science’. Persons and subject-positions acting in non-compliance or critiquing measures, on the other hand, have regularly been deemed irrational ‘science-deniers’, ‘anti-vaxxers’ and ‘conspiracy theorists’ (cf. the contribution by Gerardo Costabile Nicoletta). The hegemonic discourse, hence, demands for itself to occupy a position of representing ultimate rationality – a position which essentially places itself above democratic procedures of debate.

Counter-hegemonic discourses – presenting dislocations in the hegemonic discourse?

The counter-hegemonic discourse, likewise, subsumes various different subject-positions and narratives and is far from homogenous. They are too diverse to be exhaustively summarized in this post. Nevertheless, core similarities in these narratives can be identified. These similarities and their radical opposition to the core assumption and/or measures demanded within the hegemonic discourse is what unites them as counter-hegemonic. Two dominant strands among these are on the one hand a construction of Covid-19 as far less of a health risk than is assumed within the hegemonic discourse and, on the other hand a perspective onto the health-related measures as either ineffective or even as doing more harm than good. In both cases, the hegemonic discourse and its demand for particular practices representing solidarity is seen as the core danger and is securitized within the counter-hegemonic discourse. While these perspectives are seldomly expressed with reference to solidarity, the practices subsumed under it are frequently attacked and constructed as the actual crisis while a focus is placed on perceived ruptures and dislocations within the hegemonic discourse.

On the other side of the spectrum, particular dominant threat perceptions can be observed as well, pertaining, however, either to the novel technological nature of the available Covid-19 vaccines or to various degrees of threat perceived from what is seen as increasingly authoritarian states and the undermining of democratic procedures.[22] Here, the notion of solidarity is contrasted with the will toward individual freedom which tends to be constructed as threatened by the collectivist notion of solidarity. Political struggles surrounding the definition of solidarity have been rather pronounced in the early days of the public crisis, while the focus has shifted away from the explicit concept and towards the individual measures associated with solidarity in the hegemonic discourse.

With regard to Covid-19 vaccinations, counter-hegemonic discourses dominantly point out that within their current mode of operation and as both infection and the transmission of the virus cannot be prevented through them, existing vaccines serve self-protection rather than communal protection at best.[23] Beyond this, the focus has shifted to documented and potential side-effects of Covid-19 vaccines. By constructing these as dangers to individual and collective health in direct opposition to the notion of serving these values, any claim to represent practices of solidarity is being challenged.[24] What is understood within the hegemonic discourse as necessary solidarity, is portrayed as a threat in the counter-hegemonic one. While left-leaning discursive strands have tended to point to what they perceive as an extremely selective understanding of solidarity, conservative strands of counter-hegemonic discourse have associated the argument in favor of solidarity more directly with a revival of communist or socialist regimes and the restriction of individual freedoms associated with them.[25]

A second major aspect of counter-hegemonic discourses has been the argument that measures such as lock-downs have had extremely unequal economic effects on different population groups. Counter-hegemonic discourses have focused on the economically destructive effects which lock-downs and restrictions to access the private market have had on small to medium businesses while simultaneously benefiting the wealth of the richest, particularly large-scale investors in the various platform economies and global technological enterprises as well as pharmaceutical industry.[26] This tendency for measures to hurt those at the bottom of the economic ladder and benefitting those at its top is also regularly highlighted in international comparison. Thus, counter-hegemonic discourses repeatedly indicate that the lockdowns within the global North have substantially contributed to increased economic problems in parts of the global South, including the disruption of food and medical supply chains, allegedly having led to approximately 400,000 additional deaths on the African continent and approximately 100 million additional people globally being “pushed into extreme poverty”.[27] It is further argued that while aid is being debated politically, it is not attached to the same notion of solidarity or acted upon within the same urgency under the framework of securitization and emergency action. A third point of critique within the realm of economic redistribution has been the argument that the drive to keep hospitalization rates to a minimum is necessary only as a result of the privatization and capacity reduction within the public health sectors – that is the reduction of public policy based on the principle of solidarity – and should be alleviated by increasing hospital capacities rather than applying measures designed for hospitals not to be overwhelmed.

Finally, counter-hegemonic discourses have pointed to the extremely unequal effects of those practices deemed to represent solidarity within the hegemonic discourse, relating to restrictions on children and young people. These are presented to have suffered to a substantial extent from the measures in terms of their psychological development as well as mental and physical health and safety, particularly, but not exclusively, children from socio-economically weaker families.[28] Such aspects, it is argued are excluded from the hegemonic discourse about solidarity.

This brief insight into the political discourses, their emotional charges as well as the practices accompanying it will suffice to demonstrate that the dividing lines – expressed in the concept of (securitized) solidarity – have deepened to such a degree in various societies that, an antagonistic logics seem to take over the formerly agonistic sphere. This, in turn, deepens the already substantial difficulties of exchange and debate. Indeed, looking again at the German context, several major news outlets have recently pleaded in favor of an explicit and active societal division along these camps.[29]


In conclusion, the notion of solidarity has become a central element or empty signifier around which a number of different subject-positions coalesce, and which has come to stand in for the hegemonic discourse about the Covid-19 crisis. It has become a battleground for mutually exclusive constructions of the very nature of the crisis as well as solutions and measures to be taken in response to it. While the hegemonic discourse is centered upon the necessity of those practices subsumed under solidarity and perceives those persons and perspective as threatening that negate this understanding, the various narratives within the counter-hegemonic discourse perceive these same restrictive political measures as the primary crisis and danger. The two visions hence directly negate each other’s way of reasoning about the crisis. The hegemonic use of the concept of solidarity further organizes and regulates relations of inclusion and exclusion. This dividing-line constructs social cohesion and exclusion from the socially acceptable sphere. It also defines which causes and victims are worthy of solidarity. By declaring individual practices of solidarity central for the security of the political body as a whole, it provides the moral underpinning and fosters the self-government of the ‘responsible citizen’ as outlined by Gerardo Nicoletta in this issue.

From the above analysis a shift in the application of the concept of solidarity can further be observed which does not focus on the historically dominant understanding of economic and class relations. Within the hegemonic discourse solidarity has rather become synonymous with compliance with political measures. The counter-hegemonic discourse has explicitly focused on dislocations in the understanding of solidarity which arise due to the narrow focus and lack of attention paid to economically (re-)distributive effects of Covid-19 related policies.

Ultimately, this blog post is written in the hope that both aspects outlined about the way in which solidarity is currently employed may be reflected upon and transformed. My first hope is that discourse theory and analysis can be used as a valuable resource in shifting the discourse back to a solidly agonistic rather than antagonistic footing and evading further radicalization on both sides. Secondly, I hope that a consideration of the concept of solidarity can contribute to a debate about how the term should be used, what it should express and ultimately to re-integrate the strive for socio-economic equality into the equation.



[1] Brunkhorst, Hauke (2020). Democratic Solidarity between Crisis and Hope. In: H. Krunke, H. Petersen & I. Manners (Eds.), Transnational Solidarity – Concept, Challenges and Opportunities. Cambridge University Press, 43; Liedmann, Sven-Eric (2020). Solidarity. A short history from the concept’s beginning to the present situation. In: H. Krunke, H. Petersen & I. Manners (eds.). Transnational Solidarity – Concept, Challenges and Opportunities. Cambridge University Press, 11.

[2] Butler, Graham & Snaith, Holly (2020). Negative Solidarity: The European Union and the Financial Crisis. In: H. Krunke, H. Petersen & I. Manners (eds.). Transnational Solidarity – Concept, Challenges and Opportunities. Cambridge University Press, 130.

[3] Liedmann, Sven-Eric (2020). Solidarity. A short history from the concept’s beginning to the present situation. In: H. Krunke, H. Petersen & I. Manners (eds.). Transnational Solidarity – Concept, Challenges and Opportunities. Cambridge University Press, 13, 14.

[4] Brunkhorst, Hauke (2020). Democratic Solidarity between Crisis and Hope. In: H. Krunke, H. Petersen & I. Manners (Eds.), Transnational Solidarity – Concept, Challenges and Opportunities. Cambridge University Press,  45.

[5] Eisenmann, Barbara (2018). Ein feature über den Neoliberalismus in der Krise. Bayerischer Rundfunk.

[6] Fukuyama, Francis (1989). The End of History? In: The National Interest, 16, 3-18.

[7] Gaterman, Reiner (2000). Privatisierung im Gesundheitswesen. In: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.; Hontschik, Bernd (4 Nov. 2018). Privatisierung des Gesundheitswesens: Das Märchen von den teuren Alten. In: TAZ.!5544982/

[8] Butler, Graham & Snaith, Holly (2020). Negative Solidarity: The European Union and the Financial Crisis. In: H. Krunke, H. Petersen & I. Manners (eds.). Transnational Solidarity – Concept, Challenges and Opportunities. Cambridge University Press, 129pp.

[9] Politaki, Alex (11 Feb. 2013). Greece is facing a humanitarian crisis. In: The Guardian.; Rowling, Megan (23 May 2012). Is a humanitarian crisis emerging in Southern Europe? Reuters

[10] Meier, Albrecht (4 Jan 2012). Euro-Krise Solidität und Solidarität, In: tagesspiegel.; Folgen der Krise: Ohne Solidarität wird der Euro nicht zu retten sein (2 May 2013). In: Süddeutsche Zeitung.; Stratenschulte, Eckart (9 April 2014). Solidarität – ein Missverständnis? In: The European.; Euro-Krise Solidarität mit Zypern, aber nur für Reformen (1 Nov. 2013). In: Handelsblatt.;

[11] Stiglitz, Joselph (2016). The Euro and Its Threat to the Future of Europe – how a common currency threatens the future of Europe. W.W. Norton & Company, 22-31; Liedmann, Sven-Eric (2020). Solidarity. A short history from the concept’s beginning to the present situation. In: H. Krunke, H. Petersen & I. Manners (eds.). Transnational Solidarity – Concept, Challenges and Opportunities. Cambridge University Press, 18; Butler, Graham & Snaith, Holly (2020). Negative Solidarity: The European Union and the Financial Crisis. In: H. Krunke, H. Petersen & I. Manners (eds.). Transnational Solidarity – Concept, Challenges and Opportunities. Cambridge University Press,  139.

[12] Laclau, Ernesto (2014). The rhetorical foundations of society. Verso, 35.

[13] Matthies, Bernd (4 Oct. 2020). Berliner Senat stoppt umstrittene Mittelfingerkampagne. In: Der tagesspiegel online.

[14] Impfgegner im Mittelalter – Zum Glück leben wir nicht mehr im Mittelalter (25 June 2020). ZDF Produktion.; Corona World – das game zur Krise (11 May 2020). ZDF Produktion.

[15] For an overview see Szymanski, Adam (2022). On the Scapegoating of the Unvaccinated. A media analysis of the political propaganda during the Covid-19 pandemic. In: Journal for the critical study of society 1(1) (forthcoming).

[16] Viertes Gesetz zum Schutz der Bevölkerung bei einer epidemischen Lage von nationaler Tragweite.; Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Baden-Württemberg (2021). Grundgesetz und Grundrechte in Zeiten der Corona- Pandemie.

[17] Youtube (2022): Covid-19 medical disinformation policy:; twitter (Dec. 2021). Covid-19 misleading information policy.; EUvs.Disinfo:; see also: Facing the Information Apocalypse: Trusted News Initiative.; Gräser, Tilo (22 Feb 2021): Neue Zensurbehörde? Medienaufseher gehen gegen unabhängige Online-Medien vor. In: Multipolar.; Schreyer, Paul (29 May 2021). Oppositionsmedien unter Feuer. In: Multipolar.; Meyen, Michael (15 July 2021). Vielfalt in Gefahr. In: Der Freitag.

[18] Szymanski, Adam (2022). On the Scapegoating of the Unvaccinated. A media analysis of the political propaganda during the Covid-19 pandemic. In: Journal for the critical study of society 1(1) (forthcoming); Corona Schutzimpfung. Bundesministerium für Gesundheit (2022). Gemeinschaftsschutz: Warum Solidarität in der Coronavirus-Pandemie so wichtig ist.; Bock, Holger (14 Sept. 2021). Impfen was denn sonst. Man nennt das Solidarität. In: NDR.,corona8740.html; Rubner, Jeanne (26 July 2021). Pro und contra Impfflicht. Zwischen Solidarität und Trotz. In: ARD.; Impfzwang und Solidarität – Wer sich nicht impfen lässt, verhält sich unsolidarisch (7 Nov. 2021). In: Deutschlandfunk Kultur.; Erbe, Barbara (1 Dec. 2021). Verantwortung und Solidarität. In: Pharmazeutische Zeitung.

[19] see for example Frühauf, Sarah (9 Nov. 2021). Serie: Die Meinung von Sarah Frühauf. In: Tagestehmen, ARD/MDR.; Charlton-Dailey, Rachel (30 Nov. 2021) Unvaccinated People are not oppressed, they are dangerous. In: Very Well Health.

[20] Menke, Frank (8 Nov. 2021). Tyrannei der Ungeimpften – Der Umgangston eskaliert. In: WDR online.

[21] Bonacker, Thorsten (2020). Solidarität als Sicherheitsformel. In: Soziopolis. Reihe: Sicherheit in der Krise.

[22] Reitschuster, Boris (2022). Demokratie oder weitere DDRisierung: 2022 wird ein Jahr der Weichenstellung.; Ehret, Mathew (2022). Ottawa freedom Convoy tears down illusion of democracy in North America. In: OffGuardian.; Demokratischer Widerstand:

[23] For example: Subramanian S.V. & Kumar, Akhil (2021). Increases in Covid-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States. In: European Journal of Epidemiology, published September 30, 2021.; Singanayagam, A et al. (2021). Community transmission and viral load kinetics of the SARS-CoV2 delta (B.1.617.2) variant in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in the U.K. – a prospective, longitudinal cohort study. In: The Lancet, published October 28, 2021.

[24] Bonath, Susan (5 March 2022). Impfschäden: Wie die Tagesschau, eine Krankenkasse und die Bundesregierung gemeinsam ein Alarmsignal abwehren. In: Multipolar.

[25] Reitschuster, Boris (19 Jan. 2021). Ein Stück DDR ist zurück.; Attacke der Werteunion: „Merkel war durch und durch DDR“ (18 Jan 2022). In: Nordkurier.

[26] For example: „Impfstoff“ von Pfizer/BioNTech ist das umsatzstärkste Medikament der Welt (6 Nov. 2021). In: Transition News.; Jaquin, Axel (11 Feb. 2022). Die Impfpflicht als Geschäftidee. In: Rubikon News.

[27] The German Federal Development Minister cited in Handelsblatt 2021; World Bank 2021:3)

[28] Hutter, Ralph (2022) Maskenpflicht. Gesundheitsschäden für Kinder werden weiter ignoriert. In: Multipolar. ; Schubert, Christian (2022). Die Maßnahmen töten mehr Menschen als Covid-19. In: Multipolar.

[29] Klute, Hilmar (2021). November des Zorns. Ein Kommentar von Hilmar Klute. Süddeutsche Zeitung online. November 21, 2021. Available at:;

Stöcker, Christian (2021). Vergesst den ‘Zusammenhalt‘. Spiegel online. Available at:;

Vooren, Christian (2021). Die Gesellschaft muss sich spalten. Zeit online. November 19, 2021. Available at:



How to cite this blog post:

Broecker, Hannah (2022), “Solidarity and the signification of compliance”, Crisis Discourse Blog (CriDis), URL =