Solidarity and Suffering

Toward a Politics of Relationality

By Douglas Sturm

Subjects: Religion And Politics
Series: SUNY series, Religion and American Public Life
Paperback : 9780791438701, 335 pages, August 1998
Hardcover : 9780791438695, 335 pages, August 1998

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Table of contents


1. Prelude: Toward a Politics of Relationality

I. Human Rights

2. The Idea of Human Rights: A Communitarian Perspective

3. On the Suffering and Rights of Children: Toward a Theology of Childhood Liberation

4. Interlude: Affirmative Action and the Deprivations of Racism

II. Economic Relations

5. The Meaning and Use of Property

6. Corporate Governance and Democracy

7. Interlude: The Socialist Vision Revisited

III. Religious Commitment

8. Religion as Critique and the Critique of Religion: The Problem of the Self in the Modern World

9. Crossing the Boundaries: Interreligious Dialogue and the Political Question

10. Interlude: Wisdom and Compassion—The Deeper Dimensions of Understanding

IV. Social Conflict

11. The Politics of Annihilation and the Mission of Higher Education

12. On Making Peace: Nonviolence and the Principle of Relationality

13. Interlude: Criminality and Community

V. Ecological Community

14. Ecology and Social Justice: Shattering the Boundaries of Moral Community

15. Postlude: Koinonology and the Ecological Principle



Developing a concept of justice as solidarity, this work addresses a range of urgent social issues--from the meaning of human rights and the character of corporate governance to the resolution of social conflict and the moral status of the environment.


This book delineates a vision that moves beyond a politics of divisiveness toward a new way of constructing lives together throughout the world. Sturm's "politics of relationality" is an alternative to classical liberalism and cultural conservatism. It calls for mutual respect and creative dialogue, promoting a principle of justice as solidarity. Sturm develops a radically reconstructive approach to a wide range of social issues: human rights, affirmative action, property, corporations, religious pluralism, social conflict, and the environment. Solidarity and Suffering: Toward a Politics of Relationality is infused with a spirituality of compassion, suggesting that, in their core meanings, justice and love coalesce.

Douglas Sturm is Professor Emeritus of Religion and Political Science, Bucknell University. He is also the author of Community and Alienation: Essays on Process Thought and Public Life.


"…comprehensive in scope yet detailed in its consideration of the major social and environmental problems of our time. " — The Journal of Religion

"Thorough and sophisticated in learning even while clear and accessible in formation, Sturm offers a major alternative to the reigning secular approaches in social ethics ('liberalism' and communitarianism') and to the forms of liberation theology that tend to dominate theological ethics. Marked throughout by insightful and judicious proposals for addressing particular issues, this distinctive work is especially important because they are developed as specifications of a systematically articulate vision of justice and the common good. " — Franklin I. Gamwell, The Divinity School, The University of Chicago

"Douglas Sturm is a first-class thinker and writer. This book is an important contribution to the literature. " — John B. Cobb, Jr. , Claremont School of Theology

"Solidarity and Suffering is stunningly ample in its references, comprehensive in its topics, appropriate in its criteria, and constructive in its intentions. It gives new and practical life to seemingly dead, utopian ideals. " — William Dean, Iliff School of Theology