chapter  9
33 Pages

Alliance and Solidarity

In Chapter 7, I discussed the role of ascriptions-both self-attributions and attributions to oneself by others-in the construction of Selves and selfconcepts. Ascriptions play a fundamental role in creating personal and social identities. I argued there that no biological theory can throw as much light on social reality as can a theory of ascriptions. And the theory of ascriptions, as we saw, throws into relief the way that groups and other social institutions are formed. In this chapter, I shall be exploring further the way that groups enter into social life and into individual decision-making. The concept I shall be contributing to the social scientist’s arsenal is that of solidarity. It is a concept that fills what is currently a gap in the spectrum conceived by decision theorists and economists, by expanding the two-part dichotomy between altruistic and selfish motivations into a tripartite analysis that allows us to think instead in terms of a spectrum of self-involved motivational structures. That spectrum is what de Gaulle is gesturing at in this chapter’s epigraph. The terms in which this spectrum will be articulated in this chapter are intended to be befitting of application in a variety of social sciences, not simply those that take the individual as the unit of analysis. But freedom ramifies into these smaller spaces as well.