The field of solidarity in times of a pandemic

Results of an online survey in Hungary


  • Domonkos Sik ELTE
  • Ildikó Zakariás

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solidarity, COVID-19, Hungary, Bourdieu


Despite its central importance, solidarity is seldom analysed in a comprehensive manner. The majority of related studies target only specific aspects of its complex mechanisms, such as the functioning of redistributive systems; the related values; the private networks of care; or the civil society. Our study aims at providing a comprehensive analysis by understanding solidarity as a field in Bourdieu’s sense: it involves supportive interactions; competition for the related symbolic capital; illusions providing legitimate frames of deservingness and respectability; and divergent habitus depending on the broader structural position. In order to understand the contemporary solidarity field of Hungary, these dimensions are mapped in parallel: types of problems and needs; sources of received support; the problematic aspects of support; types of support provided to family members and friends; types of support provided to generalised others constitute the dimensions of a cluster analysis describing the idealtypical positions. These positions are analysed from the perspective of their structural background and the solidarity related attitudes. From a sociological perspective, situations like the pandemic provide unique opportunity for analysing otherwise tacit patterns of solidarity. Beside this opportunity, the pandemic is also used as a comparative framework: in the final section, the changes occurring in the various positions are also overviewed in order to highlight the dynamics of the solidarity field.