Bremen Conversations on Global Solidarity

In our lecture series “Bremen Conversations on Global Solidarity”, researchers from different disciplines and from all over the world present and discuss latest theoretical approaches to and empirical findings on global solidarity. The lecture series takes place online and on-site at the same time, as we always have a live stream of the talk at the University of Bremen. The lecture series is held four times a year.

Upcoming Events

Previous Presentations

Wednesday, 17 January, 2024, 2:15-3:45pm

Prof. Dr. Juan Carlos Castillo

Social cohesion and attitudinal changes toward migration: A longitudinal perspective amid the COVID-19 pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted social interactions and coexistence around the globe in dimensions that go far beyond health issues. In the case of the Global South, the pandemic has developed along with growing South-South migratory movements, becoming another key factor that might reinforce social conflict in increasingly multicultural areas as migrants have historically served as “scapegoats” for unexpected crises as a way to control and manage diversity. Chile is one of the main destination countries for migrants from the Latin American and Caribbean region, and COVID-19 outbreaks in migrant housing have intensified discrimination. In such a context, there is a need for understanding how the pandemic has potentially changed the way non-migrants perceive and interact with migrant neighbors. Drawing on the national social cohesion panel survey study ELSOC (2016–2021, N = 2,927) the aim of this talk is to analyze the changes in non-migrants' attitudes toward migrants—related to dimensions of social cohesion—over the last years and their relation with individual status and territorial factors. We argue that social cohesion in increasingly multicultural societies is partially threatened in times of crisis. The results indicate that after the pandemic, convivial attitudes toward Latin American migrants decreased. Chileans started perceiving them more negatively, particularly those respondents with lower educational levels and who live in increasingly multicultural neighborhoods with higher rates of migrant residents.

Prof. Dr. Juan Carlos Castillo is a Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Chile and a principal investigator at the Center for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies in Santiago de Chile.

Wednesday, 13 December, 2023, 2:15-3:45pm, UNICOM 7.3280

Prof. Dr. Markus Tepe

What determines the willingness of citizens in vaccine-rich countries to donate vaccines to vaccine-poor countries? Evidence from an Anchoring Vignette Experiment in the US, China, and Germany


What determines the willingness of citizens in vaccine-rich countries to donate vaccines to vaccine-poor countries? Evidence from an Anchoring Vignette Experiment in the US, China, and Germany.


Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Pieter Vanhuysse (University of Southern Denmark), Sarah Roost (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), and Markus Tepe (University of Bremen)


This study considers a global pandemic where an effective vaccine is available but unequally distributed among countries. The vaccine is in short supply or practically unavailable in many countries, while other countries possess surplus stocks. Governments of vaccine-rich countries face the choice between stocking surplus vaccines to protect their citizens in case of future outbreaks or donating them to vaccinate the citizens of vaccine-poor countries, thereby reducing the risk of future variants (Variants Of Concern = VOC). Lampert et al. (2022) developed a game-theoretic model to identify optimal strategies for vaccine-rich countries’ donations. This study tests the causal effect of the model’s main parameters on the willingness of citizens in vaccine-rich countries to donate surplus vaccines to vaccine-poor countries. Specifically, we test the impact of (1) the share of the population vaccinated (Vmax), (2) the rate of emergence of VOC, (3) the number of vaccine-rich countries (N), and (4) the cost of a future outbreak (c). To identify the causal effect of these parameters, we conducted an online survey experiment using anchoring vignettes among citizens in the US, China, and Germany (2500 respondents per country). Empirical results show that citizens in Germany and China, but not in the US, are sensitive to Vmax. There is no sensitivity to the three other parameters, except for the number of donating countries in the case of China. In sum, while the model parameters have limited explanatory power, respondents’ personal infection experience and vaccination status remain significant predictors of their willingness to donate surplus vaccines across all three countries.

Keywords: Solidarity, donation, vaccine nationalism, anchoring vignettes, online survey

Reference: Lampert, A., R. Sulitzeanu-Kenan, P. Vanhuysse and M. Tepe 2022. The rich-to-poor vaccine donation game: When will self-interested countries donate their surplus vaccines during pandemics? communications medicine 2, 107


The lecture took place on site in our BIGSSS Conference Room (University of Bremen, Mary-Somerville Str. 7, UNICOM, house 7, 3rd floor, room 7.3280).

In October 2023, Prof. Dr. Markus Tepe joined our Cluster team as a Professor for Political Science at the University of Bremen.

Wednesday, 1 November, 2023, 2:15-3:45pm

Dr. habil. Mareike Gebhardt

Deconstructing Solidarity

Traditional theories of solidarity are based on an idea of similarity that, as the lectures shows, leads to masculinist semantics, nationalist imaginations, and racist politics. Drawing on radical democratic theory (RDT) and Jacques Derrida’s notion of the “im-possible”, the lecture follows a deconstructive approach to open an understanding of solidarity as directed towards ‘the Others.’ However, the political subjects of RDT remain without bodies. This is why, in a second step, the lecture develops RDT’s arguments further by referring to queer, Black feminist, and postcolonial approaches that allow us to uncover androcentric, racist, and (hetero-)sexist residues in solidarity. I argue that it is in the example of civil Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean that we see show the ambivalences of solidarity – on a spectrum from colonial continuities to emancipatory politics – unfold. Through this example together with problematizing the inequalities of solidarizability, the lecture begins to formulate a critical theory of solidarity toward an intersectional reiteration.

Dr. habil. Mareike Gebhardt is the prinicipal investigator of the research group "Navigating the Mediterranean: Search and Rescue Missions and the Dissensus on Democracy" and the managing director of the Center for European Gender Studies at the University of Muenster.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023, 3:15-4:45pm - postponed

Prof. Dr. Dietlind Stolle

Dietlind Stolle is a Professor in Political Science at the McGill University, Canada.

Wednesday, 21 June, 2023, 2:15-3:45pm

Prof. Jimi O. Adesina

Rethinking Social Policy: Quest for Human Well-being in the African Context

The last four decades in Africa witnessed the institution of a social policy architecture that is broadly stratified, segmented, and segregated. The neoliberal counter-revolution sought to dismantle solidaristic, collective provisioning and the publicly mandated social investment system. In several African countries, the linkages between social investment and developmental aspirations were central to public policy. The effect of market-centric and segregated public provisioning has been deleterious for human well-being on the continent.

 Against this background, in this lecture, we outline a modality for rethinking social policy that is framed by the idea of Transformative Social Policy. We outline the pedigree and meaning of transformative social policy. Outline the key concerns of social policy and its multiple tasks—protection, production, social reproduction, redistribution, and social cohesion. In the context of development, we outline the inherent synergistic relationship between economic and social policy and the task of social policy in the structural transformation of the economy, social institutions, and social relations—with the core normative underpinning of solidarity and equality.

We highlight the imperative of a wider vision of human well-being and a broader set of policy instruments for enhancing well-being. We use the case of land and agrarian reform to illustrate the case for a policy instrument that simultaneously activates multiple tasks of social policy and enhances human well-being.

Rethinking social policy in the African context calls for locally sensitive instruments, a higher vision of human well-being, and fidelity to the continent’s development concerns that is ecologically responsible and gender sensitive.

Jimi O. Adesina is a Professor and Holder of the South African Research Chair in Social Policy at the University of South Africa in Pretoria, South Africa.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 3:15-4:45pm

Prof. Carol Gould

From Fraternity to Solidarity

Carol Gould is a Distinguished Professor in the Philosophy Department at Hunter College. She also serves as the Director of the Center for Global Ethics & Politics at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies.