The Role of Solidarity in the Social Legal State

Jolanta Bieliauskaitė


The objective of this article is to reveal one of the fundamental principles of the social legal state, which expresses the quality of relations of members of society – the principle of solidarity, and the influence of the changes of its the concept on further development of a social legal state.
The security of human rights in a social legal state is inseparable from the value of social stability. The solidarity as the measure of support of social stability can be defined as congeniality, mutual support, responsiveness to others, unity, common responsibility, obligation to satisfy the expectations of certain groups of the society. It might be influenced by instrumental, individualistic or value and social emotions based motives and, depending on the interpretation of the state–society relations, can appear in various forms. There are two forms of solidarity identified in this article – instrumental (market) solidarity, based on liberal tradition, and social (generations) solidarity, based on communitarian tradition. The dynamical interaction of these forms is emphasized in the article.
The Western social legal states are based on micro and macro social generation contracts, which supplement and influence each other and define the principle of social solidarity. Analysis of the legal acts, which establish the generation solidarity, leads to an observation that more a state cares of its citizens, less the citizens tend to care of each other or themselves. Therefore, a social legal state has to be not only a passive distributor of income and expenses, the guardian of formal solidarity of society, but also a conservator of informal solidarity of families. It has to adjust the relations of citizens by the means of law, so they would voluntary identify with each other and help each other to implement their aims.
The article also emphasises the development of the concept of solidarity, which is influenced by evident tendencies of individualisation, diversification, globalization and segmentation of society. Recently, under active influence of these tendencies, a decline of social (generations) solidarity becomes noticeable. This is dangerous to the existence of a social legal state, because the social solidarity of members of society is an important guarantee of stability and effective functioning of a social legal state, which helps to overcome the social tension aroused by an intervention of a social legal state into certain areas of life.


legal philosophy; solidarity; social legal state; welfare state; society

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236