Aoife McInerney – Phenomenology of Solidarity

Here is the latest of our recordings from The British Society for Phenomenology’s 2018 Annual Conference ‘The Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’. Aoife McInerney is from the University of Limerick, and her paper is titled ‘Phenomenology of Solidarity’.


Abstract: “The term plurality is somewhat in vogue of late; yet, arguably its implications were not taken seriously until Hannah Arendt. Arendt displays a genuine engagement with what plurality actually means and what it has to offer. The consequences of this, on the one hand, call for a theoretical reframing of the conditions of political action and interaction. On the other, they force us to rethink the nature of pluralistic co-existence. While plurality may present challenges, such as how does one truly participate at the political level and how does the notion of solidarity fare against the reality of difference and uniqueness contained in everyday communal life and practice, a phenomenological investigation of plurality provides a compelling approach to today’s most vexing social-political problems. In order to extract the full potential from Arendt’s notion of plurality, this paper will begin at the conceptual level and systematically iron out the theoretical implications of plurality and the methodological challenges it presents. Subsequently, it will further explore what plurality has to offer in the political domain and how it is actualized, that is to say, how a theory of solidarity becomes practice. Finally, in terms of my own contribution, this paper will analyze these pluralistic implications in light of forming solidaristic relations which the notion of plurality could be seen to undermine. The notion of plurality that Arendt tries to capture is one which, in spite of a seeming conceptual contradiction, -- different but equal, separate but unified -- remains faithful to the phenomenon of political life with others, that is to say, the lived experience of intersubjectivity. Ultimately, Arendt’s contributions culminate in an innovative ethics of participative plurality which has far-reaching implications for current social policy, such as fostering solidaristic understanding and cooperation, and managing international mobility.”


The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, UK during July, 2018. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found at:


The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, conferences and other events, and its podcast. You can support the society by becoming a member, for which you will receive a subscription to our journal:

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