Fraternité as creation and sharing of relational goods
di Pierpaolo Donati
Abstract: Fraternity, understood as an interpersonal relationship between two or more subjects, is expressed and made concrete in a specific type of goods: relational goods. Relational goods are born on a micro level in the lifeworlds (primary relational goods), but then they can originate forms of civil associations and organizations at a meso level (secondary relational goods), thus contributing to giving a specific configuration to an entire community or society. This contribution aims to explain this important way of considering and making operational the meaning of fraternity. To understand the role of relational goods in creating a fraternal society, we must start from the observation that modern society, typically Western, was built on the basis of the principles of (individual) freedom and equality (between individuals), putting aside the principle of fraternité. But a society like this has limits that lead it to self-defeat. Freedom and equality require the «third», i.e. fraternity, otherwise they fall into lib/lab systems which generate inequalities and threaten fundamental human rights.
Keywords: Fraternity – relational goods – relational sociology – good life – social morality