How is “solidarity” understood in discussions about contact tracing apps? An overview

Tretter M (2024)

Publication Type: Book chapter / Article in edited volumes

Publication year: 2024

Publisher: Frontiers Media

Edited Volumes: COVID-19: Risk communication and blame

Series: Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence Research Topics

City/Town: Lausanne

Pages Range: 202-216

Open Access Link:


Background: In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is much discussion about contact tracing apps, their use to contain the spread of the virus as well as the ethical, legal, and social aspects of their development, implementation, acceptance, and use. In these discussions, authors frequently mention “solidarity” when making key points in arguments. At the same time, authors rarely specify how they understand “solidarity”. This lack of specification about how they understand “solidarity” can lead to misunderstandings in discussions.

Objective: To prevent such misunderstandings, it is important to specify how one understands “solidarity” when mentioning it in the discussions on contact tracing apps. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to elaborate how “solidarity” is understood in the context of contact tracing apps, i.e., how different authors understand “solidarity” when using it in discussions about these apps.

Methods: In order to find out how different authors understand “solidarity” when discussing contact tracing apps, I conduct a literature review. I collect papers from several databases, inductively work out central differences and similarities between the different uses of “solidarity”, and use them to code and analyze relevant passages.

Results: In the final sample, five different understandings of “solidarity” in the context of contact tracing apps can be identified. These understandings differ in how different authors (1) imagine the basic concept of solidarity, i.e., what “solidarity” refers to, (2) how they temporally relate solidarity to contact tracing apps, and (3) how they perceive the causal interactions between solidarity and contact tracing apps, i.e., the different ways in which solidarity and contact tracing apps influence each other.

Conclusions: The five understandings of “solidarity” in the context of contact tracing apps presented here can serve as guidance for how “solidarity” can be understood in discussions—thus contributing to a better mutual understanding and preventing communicative misunderstandings.

Authors with CRIS profile

How to cite


Tretter, M. (2024). How is “solidarity” understood in discussions about contact tracing apps? An overview. In Victoria Team, Rukhsana Ahmed, Mohan Jyoti Dutta et al. (Eds.), COVID-19: Risk communication and blame. (pp. 202-216). Lausanne: Frontiers Media.


Tretter, Max. "How is “solidarity” understood in discussions about contact tracing apps? An overview." COVID-19: Risk communication and blame. Ed. Victoria Team, Rukhsana Ahmed, Mohan Jyoti Dutta et al., Lausanne: Frontiers Media, 2024. 202-216.

BibTeX: Download