Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Charles Curry-Smithson


The term solidarity has been used to express the connection of human beings even if geographically separated. At times the definition and application of the term has been radical toward the purposes of transforming an unjust and/or oppressive social order. Paulo Freire re-conceptualized the term to a much more scientific and activating level from which the elements were chosen as standards by which to live and practice being in solidarity with the oppressed. A six month experience of attempting to be in solidarity with an historically oppressed group was documented by the research methods of observation, conversation, and journaling in order to identify personal growth and any progress toward achieving solidarity.

A review of literature pertaining to the definitions, conceptions, and applications of solidarity grounds and explores this research in theoretical terms while comparing it to research conducted through personal experience and recorded in a journal. The findings and conclusions support Freire’s concept of solidarity as an unparalleled approach to transforming injustice and exploitation as it is a humanizing and liberating process for its participants. This collection of literature, personal experience, and reflection offers those interested in pursuing any form of social justice an approach that addresses systemic causes of oppression, exploitation, and alienation, while engaging in an emancipatory and educational dialogue between a variety of participants who represent different classes, races, genders, geographies, abilities, sexual orientations, and ages.


Civic and Community Engagement | Inequality and Stratification