The perceptions and/or experiences of (non-)solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic
SOURCE OF FINANCING:
The project is partially financed with statutory funds of the Faculty of Social Sciences, SWPS University; project no. SUB/INS/2019/33 (Manager: Jowita Radzińska).
DESCRIPTION, GOALS, METHODOLOGY,
The goal of project Corona-solidarity: the perceptions and/or experiences of (non-)solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic is to grasp the attitudes, narratives and social practices of Polish men and women during the COVID-19 pandemic. Solidarity used to appear as a slogan on banners and in the anniversary calendar. Today - just like the coronavirus and COVID-19 - this notion is used in many different ways in the media, everyday conversations and in the academic community. In our understanding, the pandemic may accelerate the transition from 'solidarity of need to solidarity motivated by fear' predicted by Beck (1992: 49), so its study is an attempt to understand and give new meanings to social solidarity in destabilized societies (cf. Crow 2002: 113).
The value of solidarity is related to trust and social capital. An important perspective in the study of solidarity is to learn and explain the mechanisms that make cooperation easier, and thus to check whether and how the experience of solidarity can break the so-called vicious circle of lack of cooperation (Czapiński 2015). The theoretical framework of the research goes back to Aristotle's concept of friendship (solidarity as a continuation of civic friendship in the Greek polis) and the concept of social changes within Emil Durkheim's solidarity.
The project’s methodology is based on a grounded theory approach. The study has been underway since the beginning of quarantine (the project commenced on 13 March 2020), and is being conducted as Qualitative Longitudinal Research. The research technique applied in the study comprises individual in-depth interviews conducted online in a dual form, i.e. synchronous (the researcher talking to participants using GoogleMeet and similar tools) and asynchronous (incidents and opinions recorded in diaries, plus email correspondence). The study consists of three waves. The persons taking part in the study were recruited through an invitation posted in social media. 26 people are taking part in the study, 21 of them women and 6 men, aged from 28 to 73 years old, from different parts of Poland, and mostly urban residents. All respondents apart from one woman have higher education. Their identification as representatives of the middle class is connected to economic capital, and professional qualifications.
Analyzes are conducted on three levels: micro (personal experience, individual situation), meso (functioning among family and friends, other support networks) and macro (sources of information, evaluation of political decisions). The theoretical value of the study is particularly evident in the development of the "everyday" concept of solidarity, in which one distances from abstract values and historical references, and considers solidarity as the quality of cooperation.
The first reflections related to the study can already be read in the article The maturity of empathy affects the quality of solidarity – Radzińska, J. (2021). The maturity of empathy affects the quality of solidarity. Ethics.
Solidarity from the banners and the anniversary calendar went straight to the announcements in the Decathlon speakers. Today, everyone is called to solidarity. These appeals meant something completely different in March 2020 and in March 2021. The experience of solidarity and/or non-solidarity has changed during the pandemia. We collected ongoing narratives to better understand the synchronic longing for solidarity and the difficulty in its practical implementation.
- Jowita Radzińska, project manager