Projects

Projects in 2019

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 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.

 

 

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).

Civil Dialogues

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.

 

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.

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 Refugees

As in the previous years, we implement workshops with mixed groups of refugees and discuss the fundamental values and ideas that enable us to live together in a fair society. The eight rows of three days workshops that we organize this year in Brandenburg have been made possible by the Brandenburg Ministry of Education. For more information about the project and, especially, an overview of our deliberative approach, click here.

Projects in 2018

Multiplikatorenschulungen: deliberation against discrimination

As in 2016 and 2017, we organize series of deliberative workshops for volunteers and social workers involved in integration work. We doubled again the number of workshops and are now active in the whole of Germany. We discuss identity, prejudices, discrimination and racism. All kinds of discrimination are at odds with the idea of human rights and the related ideas of respect and tolerance. The concept of human rights we analyse and justify via a deliberative analysis of the concepts of democracy, pluralism, freedom and autonomy. The insights we here develop together will then we applied and deepened via a discussion of sexe equality and homosexuality. On a higher level we explore how this kind of fundamental ideas can be deliberatively discussed with citizens from other cultures.
This project was made possible by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

A description of the entire project (in German) is available here: Übersicht Deliberation gegen Diskriminierung SSW 2018.

Deliberation in Brandenburg

We have organized 4 rows of workshops, each with six sessions, in which we have discussed with different groups of refugees and locals the ideas, perspectives and values, ​​that are generally seen as constructive for European culture and identity. The project was made possible by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the State of Brandenburg, and the Integration Commissioner of the State of Brandenburg (Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Health, Women and Family). For more information about the project and, especially, an overview of our deliberative approach, click here.

Projects in 2017

Deliberation against Populism

In this project we organized two deliberative events with German radicalizing citizens that on the internet had shown sympathy for right wing populist standpoints. The prime goal of the project was to find new ways to get into contact with citizens that see themselves as political alienated or unrepresented, and to reengage them in the democratic discourse. We particularly explored the possibilities of social media, also trying to counter the much discussed “filter bubbles” or “echo chambers” where people predominantly receive messages that reaffirm and strengthen their pre-existing opinions. Together with the participants, we wanted to examine their take on contemporary society – which problems, challenges, opportunities and perspectives they see, and how these hang together. More information on this project can be found here. A summary of the project is available here.

Deliberation in Brandenburg

We have organized 12 rows of workshops, each with six sessions, in which we have discussed with different groups of refugees and locals the ideas, perspectives and values, ​​that are generally seen as constructive for European culture and identity. The project was made possible by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the State of Brandenburg, and the Integration Commissioner of the State of Brandenburg (Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Health, Women and Family). For more information about the project and, especially, an overview of our deliberative approach, click here.

Multiplikatorenschulungen

As in 2016, in 2017 we organized six series of workshops for volunteers and social workers involved in integration work in Brandenburg, Berlin, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia. In these workshops, we illustrated the ideas and methods of deliberation and explained how constructive issues such as democracy, freedom, tolerance, identity, gender equality, or (homosexual) sexuality can be deliberatively discussed with citizens from other cultures. This project was made possible by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).  For more information about a part of the project in Potsdam, click here.

Our most recent publications

Projects from 2016-2017

Understanding Germany

Our first project, "Understanding Germany", was funded by the Integration Commissioner of the State of Brandenburg and the Brandenburg State Center for Civic Education. In this pilot project, we have organized several workshops in which we deliberately discussed the values, ideas and perspectives that many consider constitutive of European cultural tradition and identity with refugees arriving in Brandenburg. The topics of the workshops included: ethical, cultural and political pluralism, humanism, democracy, religious freedom, gender, gender equality, (homo-) sexuality, fears of migrants and fears of migrants in the German population.

Buddy Project

The young men, who participated in the project, regularly met with "buddys" (slightly older German or German-speaking men) for more than 6 months to gain better insights and understanding, contacts and implicit knowledge of the local society. The entire project description can be provided upon request.

Multiplikatorenschulungen

In a third project that we carried out in 2016, we taught volunteers and social workers involved in integration work in the methodology of deliberation and discussed together the normative values ​​that are important in the context of integration. Accordingly, we build examples of the deliberation course to focus on discussing the core issues of integration such as equality, tolerance or freedom. In this course we wanted to eliminate the uncertainties shared by many European citizens when it comes to justifying and articulating the values ​​of society. These ambiguities and uncertainties often cause unclear impressions for newcomers and therefore hinder integration. The project was funded by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. A description of the project in German is available here.