Gerald J. Beyer
In Recovering Solidarity, Gerald J. Beyer provides a contextualized theological and ethical treatment of the idea of solidarity. He focuses particularly on the Polish Solidarity movement of the 1980s and the ways in which that movement originally embodied but, during the country’s transformation to a capitalist democratic society, soon abandoned this important aspect of the Catholic social tradition.
Using Poland as a case study, Beyer explores the obstacles to promoting an ethic of solidarity in contemporary capitalist societies and attempts to demonstrate how the moral revolution of the early Solidarity movement can be revived, both in its country of origin and around the world. Recovering Solidarity is widely interdisciplinary, utilizing Catholic social tradition, philosophical ethics, developmental economics, poverty research, gender studies, and sociology.
“_Recovering Solidarity_ uses a multidisciplinary approach to probe Poland’s resistance movement for a deeper understanding of the potential of solidarity in modern society. This book shines a light on the contradictions of the phenomenon—both in our understanding of what it means to act ‘in solidarity’ and in the development of Poland’s social movement. Beyer’s sophisticated and subtle treatment of the dimensions of poverty in contemporary Poland helps the reader understand its broader implications. His observations are acute, his arguments clear, and his mastery of the literature impressive.” — Maryjane Osa, Northwestern University
“It is a remarkable contribution to the studies of Polish (and more generally East European) economic transformation and its disturbing by-products: mass unemployment, growing social inequalities, and deepening poverty. It is also a brilliant introduction to applied Catholic social thought.” — H-net: Humanities and Social Sciences, Reviews Online
“To my knowledge, Gerald J. Beyer is the first scholar to investigate seriously the concept of ‘solidarity’ itself. In a book that is both rigorous and passionate, he offers a fresh analysis of Poland’s path since 1989. He focuses on the persistence, and growth, of poverty in post-revolutionary Poland, and on the decline of interest in those who have been marginalized. . . . Beyer takes a cherished concept seriously, challenging Poles to embrace solidarity as an ethic and not just as a memory.” — Slavic Review
“Drawing on Catholic social teaching as well as on economist Amartya Sen, Beyer challenges the church to resist the neoliberalism that currently dominates Polish political decision-making. The book is uniquely valuable in drawing on Polish language literature as well as interactions with key Polish leaders.” — Religious Studies Review
“It is good to give short term aid to a needy person or attend a fundraiser. But solidarity is different. It has an institutional dimension, writes Beyer. It requires a strong effort to get everyone, especially the poor, participating in society.” — Initiatives In Support of Christians in the World