Solidarity: reflections on an emerging concept in bioethics


Published 30/11/2011

Solidarity Cover cover jpg

First workshop

As part of the project on solidarity, an expert roundtable workshop took place on 13 May 2011 to discuss theoretical issues around the use of solidarity in recent bioethical writing. Experts from a wide range of subjects, including law, philosophy, the social sciences, political theory, theology and forensic sciences attended the meeting. A number of questions were debated, including:

  • Why has interest in solidarity risen recently?
  • How has the concept been used in recent bioethical writings and related work?
  • Has solidarity been mis- or overused in recent academic and public debates?
  • Against the backdrop of the many different uses of solidarity – what could a working definition of the term look like?
  • In which areas of bioethics thinking and policy making could solidarity be applied most fruitfully?

Second workshop on solidarity

A second workshop to inform the Council’s solidarity fellowship project was held on 7 July 2011 in London. The one-day meeting brought together experts to discuss how the findings of the theoretical analysis carried out so far might be applied to questions of policy making in the areas of:

  • biobanks
  • lifestyle diseases
  • pandemics

The Council was also pleased to welcome Dr Kadri Simm, Senior research fellow at the University of Tartu, Estonia, to talk about solidarity in former Communist countries. The results of the discussion have informed the drafting of the project report, which will be published on 30 November 2011.