Civic solidarity: the negotiation of identity in modern societies
Contemporary societies are marked by a diversity of opinions that pertain to different cultural groups. Intercultural encounters have the potential for mutual enrichment but may also contain the seeds for conflict. This paper looks at the processes that bind people together in contemporary societies given their diversity. Durkheim’s distinction between mechanical and organic forms of social solidarity is extended to a third variant: civic solidarity, that refers to the bonds that tie people together in shared interests based on group belonging and the negotiation of identity. This paper argues that social identity processes underlie contemporary forms of social solidarity in defining who one is for others, based on the social representations characteristic of different groups. Consequently, social identities come to define what resources are available to whom by way of social capital, and what intercultural relations are prescribed given specific types of group membership.