Solidaritet, sammenhængskraft og skole

Anne Ebdrup

Studenteropgave: Speciale


Solidarity is often claimed to be the social “glue” that binds societies together and provides social cohesion. This is no less true in the case of the Danish welfare state, which – given its significant economic redistribution and high level of tax-financed social services – can be regarded an expression of an “institutionalised solidarity”. However, many are worried that solidarity in late modern society is being threatened by rapid social change, e.g. the growing cultural and social diversity and increasing individualism. The Danish system of public schools – folkeskolen – has historically played a major role in educating pupils to become good citizens that feel solidarity with their fellow citizens and endorse the social model of the welfare state. The question is, however, whether the changes in late modern society affect the level of solidarity and, in connection to this, how the solidarity-generating function of the Danish school system is influenced. With point of departure in a critical-theoretical framework and a normative standard, which defines solidarity in terms of recognition, justice and judgment in situation, this thesis examines the potentials and barriers for solidarity among Danish pupils in 7th grade. Further, it evaluates what role the folkeskole plays in forming solidarity-minded students and its potential effects on social cohesion of future Danish society. Combining quantitative and qualitative methods, the study examines the students’ practices of solidarity in relation to two communities: the classroom community and the societal community. The thesis argues that although the majority of students have well-developed solidarity practices, two main barriers influence their judgment. One takes the form of a norm of sameness, which defines community in narrow terms and hereby excludes those who are considered too different. The other barrier is a simplifying neo-liberal view of the subject, which becomes an obstacle for understanding other people and for putting oneself in their situation. Both these mindsets, it is argued, act as hindrances to solidarity. The empirical material, however, also suggests that the Danish school system, with its socially and culturally mixed classes, has the potential to create a reflected, constructive contact and dialogue between students from different backgrounds. This can potentially challenge the solidarity barriers that could otherwise become a threat to social cohesion in the long run.

UddannelserSocialvidenskab, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato13 jan. 2014
VejledereSøren Juul


  • solidaritet, skole, sammenhængskraft, Honneth