The Embodiment of Solidarity: When Audiences and Performers Unite.

Aafke van Mourik Broekman, Ernestine Gordijn, Tom Postmes, Namkje Koudenburg

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


This research investigates ‘organic’ growth of groups. Instead of focusing on group processes that explain large groups, i.e. in-group similarities and categorization (mechanical solidarity; Durkheim, 1893/1984), we focus on processes inherent to small groups, i.e. interactions, interdependencies, and individual contributions (organic solidarity; Durkheim, 1893/1984). We hypothesize that these ‘organic’ processes can also explain transformations from small to large groups. We aim to show that merely observing an interacting group, without actively participating, can lead to feelings of solidarity with a target group through the same processes as when one is actually part of the interaction.
In collaboration with choreographers/dancers we developed three dance performances in which the physical interaction between the dancers varied; the group either displayed no solidarity, mechanical solidarity, or organic solidarity. We investigate observers’ responses among audiences that were present during the live performances and replicate the study with small audiences that watch the performances on screen.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22-May-2014
EventKurt Lewin Institute Conference - Woudenberg, Utrecht, Netherlands
Duration: 22-May-201423-May-2014


ConferenceKurt Lewin Institute Conference


  • Mechanical solidarity, organic solidarity, group formation, group growth, dance


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