Loyalty is often referred to as the glue that holds collectives together in a stable and resilient way, and yet it is not rarely feared or even despised because it is participatory, exclusionary, and can exacerbate inequalities. The specific problem of loyalty is its ambivalence. Its advantages can often be a disadvantage for communities and individuals, depending on the situation and relational context. Since loyalty is a social fact, and since we as social beings would not consider a life without loyalty as a good life, it seems useful to find out how it can become a blessing rather than a curse, or under which circumstances it is beneficial or harmful for collectives and individuals. This paper explores this question and argues that loyalty(ies) promotes the cohesiveness in collectives if, in addition to the emotional bonds from which loyalties arise, a rational component in loyalties can be demonstrated that allows them to be justified and criticized and thus makes them suitable as an object of social discourse.
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