Deliberations 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 more information 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.
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 rather increasing than decreasing. Women earn less, suffer more due to their triple duties of family, caring and profession, are more affected by old-age poverty and with a share of 30 % 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.
As a result, there is a growing dissatisfaction of the younger generation, that would like to combine family and profession, as well as political disenchantment, because the people don’t feel represented anymore, plus the exclusion of qualified thinkers in decision making and innovation processes. Germany is about to be left behind. Within the country and as an economical power.
About these issues, we would like to talk to people in Germany in this project. We would like to listen to the different experiences and opinions regarding this topic and discuss together, where the issues are and how we can solve them, so we can formulate suggestions for politics.
Throughout Germany, we organize 10 workshops in order to deliberate with about 30 persons 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 social, political and economic costs of gender inequality, as well as what emancipation means for the whole society and about what we could do in order to promote equality and what kind of support we can expect from the state.
The resume of the workshops is a communication strategy for the public discussion of this topic.
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.