How Should Republicans Conceive of Transnational Solidarity?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 17:00 to 18:30

This lecture is part of the Contemporary European Democratic Theory Lecture series.

Attempts to adapt the concept of solidarity to globalised circumstances has mainly developed in two directions. The first has followed the footsteps of the literature on “cosmopolitan motivation” – which asks the question: how can the circle of empathy be expanded? The second has been inspired by the literature of transnational governance and democracy, and has sought to conceive the possibility of multiple, interlocking, network-based layers of solidarity across borders. I suggest that the former is too simple to capture what is fundamentally at stake, and the latter too complex to have any prospects of guiding political action successfully. Drawing on Karma Nabulsis’s work on transnational solidarity among republican activists in the 19th century, I try to suggest that we should try and steer a middle way. On the one hand, solidarity beyond borders is indeed a complex and messy affair. It requires, for instance, an appreciation of the fact that we are in the same predicament in some respects, but not in others (compare, for instance, workers in poor as opposed to affluent countries; or citizens in democracies that are being hollowed out, but not quite in the same way). On the other, it requires acknowledging the urgency of settling on a clear set of priorities, and connecting those to what people care about most (including, especially, the bounded groups and communities to which thy belong, and which trigger “old school” sentiments of solidarity). 19th century republican patriots expressed and practiced solidarity for one another’s republican struggle; and they acknowledged that they had a major common enemy (the Ancien Régime). However, they were also keenly aware that they did not necessarily want to defeat said enemy in order to embark on a common political project; ultimately, they wanted to establish republics in their own respective countries. My suggestion is that something similar is the case for the main threats to meaningful republican ideals under conditions of neoliberal globalisation: identifying such threats (for instance, the hollowing out of democratic procedures, or the imbalance of power between capital and labour globally) need not mean embark in a cosmopolitan political project.

Miriam Ronzoni is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Manchester, and editor of Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric. She mainly works on issues of justice across borders, non-domination, and issues of justification in political philosophy (especially constructivism).

Registration details will be sent via email to all registrants 24 hours prior to the event. 

For information on how to attend this event after registration has closed, please email


Sorry, registrations are no longer available for How Should Republicans Conceive of Transnational Solidarity?