Deliberations with refugees
In 2020, we again implement series of workshops with refugees. With the support of the German Red Cross and the Partnerschaft für Demokratie in the Landkreis Teltow-Fläming we continue our deliberations in the refugee home in Wünsdorf, Brandenburg. This year we will visit the home ten times and discuss themes like democracy, freedom, pluralism, civil society, identity, discrimination, racism, gender equality and homosexuality. For an interview about the project click here. A short report on the project is here. With the support of the municipality of Rangsdorf we implement a comparable number of workshops with refugees living in the two refugee homes in this town, South of Berlin. For an overview of our deliberative approach, click here.
Young people deliberate: Promoting political engagement. Strengthening media literacy in WEB 2.0.
Despite a consistently high approval of the democratic model, more and more young people appear to be dissatisfied with it. Due to a lack of trust, they provide little support for existing democratic structures and are difficult to mobilize politically. Through targeted educational programs this group must be familiarized with different forms of political participation. These programs should be geared to the lifestyles of the young people concerned: more practice-oriented, time-sensitive, more focused on concrete events, more interactive and with increased use of social media.
The aim of this project is the activation, motivation and empowerment of young people for common social and political engagement. Building on our deliberative democracy and integration projects of recent years, we are expanding our deliberative approach. Together with our participants we will organize deliberative events to discuss pregnant social issues.
We will form four groups of 10 to 15 young people between 16 and 25 years old in the rural regions of Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt. We offer the participants training to reflect on the fundamental values that hold our societies together, as well as training in the functions and workings of civil organizations and activities. We also discuss how social media can be used for civil society activities. Following this training, the groups will explore and discuss an issue of their own choice over a period of six months. After this period, there will be a deliberative event on the chosen issue, independently organized by the group.
More information about the project can be found here.
Long-term cooperation with a school in Teltow, Brandenburg.
In cooperation with local partners we organize deliberative workshops in schools. The themes are chosen together with teachers and students, depending on the needs and interests of the people involved. Popular are democracy, identity, radicalization, discrimination, racism, sex equality, and homosexuality. This year, we have a long term cooperation with the Grace Hopper Gesamtschule in Teltow, Brandenburg. We will be present in the school for almost a year, interacting about two times per month with one group of adolescents. We will talk over fundamental values and ideas that keep our societies and communities together and all sorts of discrimination, including racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and homophobia. We will also have a “Dark Tourism Deliberation Day” in Berlin, visiting five memorial sites including The Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe; The Memorial for Homosexuals persecuted under Nazism; and the Memorial for the Victims of National Socialist “Euthanasia” Killings. The project has been made possible by the Internationaler Bund Berlin-Brandenburg. We will evaluate the workings of the project via repeated surveys and interviews. Information on a comparable project in Hamburg can be found here.
Empowering refugee women through deliberation and theatre
Social Science Works is beginning a series of workshops by women for women in a Potsdam refugee accommodation. The innovative aspect of this workshop is the interweaving of deliberative discussion with approaches from theater pedagogy to promote inner mobility. Deliberation means an open exchange of opinions aimed at better understanding one's ideas and views, putting them into context, and enriching them with alternative perspectives. Often, however, cognitive exploration alone has its limits especially when participants have little experience with such rounds of discussion. Approaches from theatre can help to make the topics and questions initially affectively perceptible and to communicate playfully what would otherwise have remained unspoken. Through theater one promotes the ability to concentrate as well as becomes aware of their own body and voice in context. We want to make use of this.
We aim to make women more aware of their strengths and to encourage them to reflect on their role in our society. We would like to encourage women to reflect on themselves; strengthen their body awareness, and thus, their self-perception; inform them about their rights and possibilities for shaping their lives in Germany; understand and reflect on role-patterns together; jointly process experiences of discrimination; and talk about values like freedom, equality, and respect.
The series starts with 12 meetings. It is important to us that the meetings and discussions take place at eye-level and in a protected space. We do not want to teach from above and are convinced that we will learn a lot as well. This social gathering exclusively among women is intended to create an atmosphere of trust in which deeper conversations are possible. Accordingly, we will provide a cozy atmosphere and coffee and delicious food.
Freedom, autonomy, emancipation for all
Round tables about emancipation in Germany
Salaries, promotion prospects, education, political participation or equal division of domestic work and childcare: the gap between men and women in Germany is still large. Women earn less, suffer more due to their triple duties of family, caring and profession, are more affected by old-age poverty and are underrepresented in politics, economy and science. At the same time, men are under pressure to be the sole provider of the family income. The men’s aspiration to have more time with their children often fails, because of a father-unfriendly company culture or legal practice in divorce and family matters, that still perceives the mother as the main person responsible for children.
Throughout Germany, we organize workshops in order to deliberate with citizens of all societal milieus about gender equality. We invite our participants to talk about equal employment opportunities, equal division of domestic work and new flexible working hours models. We ask among other things about the possible differences between both main sexes, about the personal, social, political and economic costs of gender inequality, as well as what emancipation means for the whole of society, what we could do in order to promote equality and what kind of support we expect from the state.
We present our participants up-to-date information about gender in Germany and other countries. In good deliberative fashion we poll the participants at the beginning as well as at the end of the talks about their ideas and views. In this way we can get an impression of the beliefs present in the German population and whether these beliefs change under the influence of information and discussion. The second poll would give us an indication of what the German population would have had for preferences, when they first had had an informed discussion on the topic of gender equality.
Most of the laws needed for gender equality are installed in Germany, but women and men are still treated unequally. So obviously, the awareness of the problem and the costs of not acknowledging the problem, is low. Therefore, of main importance for the project is to find out how the issue of gender equality could be successfully communicated with the German citizenry
For more information about the project, visit the German pages of this website. For an article about our previous experiences with deliberations on this topic, click here. For the further education we offer on gender equality, click here. An article about our experiences since the autumn of 2019 regarding this project will be published soon.
Projects in 2019
Long-term cooperation with a Hamburg school
Social Science Works has adopted a school in Hamburg. Instead of one time three days, we will be present in the school for almost a year, interacting about two days per month with two groups of adolescents, with different ages. We will talk over fundamental values and ideas that keep our societies and communities together and all sorts of discrimination, including racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and homophobia.
We will also have a “Dark Tourism Deliberation Day” in Berlin. Together with our fellow and specialist Asaf Leshem we will visit five memorial sites: The Memorial for the Murdered Members of the Reichstag; The Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism; The Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe; The Memorial for Homosexuals persecuted under Nazism; and the Memorial and Information Point for the Victims of National Socialist “Euthanasia” Killings (the so called Aktion T4).
In each of the memorials we will engage in discussions on topics of democracy, freedom, discrimination, xenophobia and racism, antisemitism and others. We will deliberate these topics through examination of the memorial sites, and through answering such questions as What do they mean to the students? Why were they built? Who were they built for? Why do we commemorate? Why do we commemorate via memorial sites?
The project has been made possible by IN VIA Hamburg (www.invia-hamburg.de) and the Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend. We will evaluate the workings of the project via repeated surveys and interviews.
Deliberation with Refugees
Deliberation in Schools
In cooperation with local partners we organize deliberative workshops in schools. The themes are chosen together with teachers and students, depending on the needs and interests of the people involved. Popular are democracy, identity, radicalization, discrimination, racism, sex equality, and homosexuality. This year we cooperate, among others, with schools in Harburg (Hamburg) and Fürstenwalde (Brandenburg). These blog-articles give an impression: Harburg und Fürstenwalde.
Deliberation with Muslim and non-Muslim citizens
With the support of the town of Potsdam, we organize and mediate ten deliberations of about three hours each with Muslim and non-Muslim citizens of Potsdam. We meet twice or once a month and discuss together themes like freedom (of expression, religion, and association), autonomy, emancipation, pluralism, democracy, identity, discrimination, respect, sex equality, our mutual fears, and how we can prevent and counter possible radicalization on both sides.
Workshops for Multiplicators
In cooperation with local partners we again organize deliberative workshops for volunteers and social workers involved in democratization, deradicalization, anti-discrimination and integration. This year we cooperate, among others, with Arbeit und Leben (Fachstelle Migration und Vielfalt - Hamburg), Haus am Maiberg (Politische & Soziale Bildung - Hessen), Arbeiterwohlfahrt Salzgitter (Niedersachsen), Flüchtlingshilfe Babelsberg (Brandenburg), Landesjugendring (Brandenburg) and Kreisverwaltung Mayen-Koblenz (Rheinland-Pfalz).
In cooperation with local partners we organize and mediate civil dialogues: citizens talking together about the values and ideas that keep our societies together, citizens talking about their frustrations, fears, hopes and ideals regarding their societies. An example are the deliberations we had in March in a town in Brandenburg. In cooperation with ESTAruppin (Einsetzen statt Aussetzen – Engaging instead of Deferring) we talked with 30 citizens that have not always fared well in our society and normally do not talk politics that often. We discussed women rights, masculinity, homo sexuality and, most of all, the European Union: what is it and what we want from it. We only had 8 hours, but this was enough to show us again that normal people are able to discuss together the values that keep our societies together, although they often did not have the opportunity yet to develop their abilities in this sphere to the full. A report on this meeting can be found here.
Another example was the deliberation we had in July in Wolmirstedt (Sachsen-Anhalt). For a report click here.
Projects in 2018
Multiplikatorenschulungen: deliberation against discrimination
A description of the entire project (in German) is available here: Übersicht Deliberation gegen Diskriminierung SSW 2018.