Redistributive Solidarity? Exploring the Utopian Potential of Unconditional Basic Income

Linea M. Petersen, Sine Nørholm Just, Emil Husted*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Using unconditional basic income (UBI) as its empirical prism, this article offers new impetus to the foundational debate within critical theory as to whether and how redistribution and recognition can relate productively to each other. We explore the possibility of redistributive solidarity, arguing that unconditional and universal redistribution may be a means of furthering the recognition of different subjectivities that are not solely defined by their productive relations of labor. Seeing such redistributive solidarity as a potential but not necessary outcome of UBI, we develop a typology of existing UBI experiments that divide these according to whether they seek to affirm or transform the current social order based on principles of growth or degrowth. Surveying these four types of UBI, we find that the envisioned form of economic redistribution shapes the potential for social recognition. While the relationship is one of utopian potential rather than causal necessity, UBI may indeed enable redistributive solidarity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Sociology
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 1 March 2022.


  • Unconditional basic income
  • Redistribution
  • Recognition
  • Solidarity
  • Utopianism
  • Economic sociology

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