Graphic “Acts of Solidarity in Mexico” (Analysis of the National Survey on Solidarity and Volunteer Action)
We usually think that most of our actions are governed by interests that bring us some kind of material benefit or by desires and intentions that are not economic but that are, however, selfish, where the final benefit is bestowed upon oneself or loved ones. It is true to a large degree that many human actions take place in this way. However, we rarely stop to think about the numerous actions we perform without any direct economic aim or without any self interest. These actions are carried out at times in different ways in diverse societies in accordance with the socioeconomic and cultural peculiarities of each place. In the western world, these kinds of activities commonly occur through nonprofit organizations, many of them religious, although the secularization of life has also allowed room for nonreligious organizations with humanitarian purposes. However, aside from what occurs based on secular organizations or within the institutional framework of churches, individual actions also take place that are not regulated by an organization or institution but rather are implemented by each individual to the benefit of others, in accordance with the volition of each person. These types of activities were known in earlier times as “charity”, performed to alleviate some problem or other need of another person. Today, the secular world calls them “actions of solidarity” performed for the benefit of others. These activities are carried out either individually or in relation to various institutions. They are spontaneous expressions of support that occur either sporadically or regularly, but that occur with greater intensity when some event of catastrophic proportions takes place, such as a natural disaster.
Throughout the history of Mexico, we have seen different types of arrangements that have something to do, in some measure, with these kinds of expressions of solidarity. I will first mention several types so as to emphasize those that, although they have overtones of solidarity, more properly belong to a form of social organization that has generally persisted until our time with a certain sense of moral obligation arising from the socio-cultural framework to which some communities belong.
KeywordsMoral Obligation Organize Group Formal Institution Volunteer Work Federal District
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