Intercultural Education, Conflict Management, Media and Violence



Intercultural Education, Conflict Management, Media and Violence
Educator’s Manual 2
Intercultural Education
Conflict Management
Media and Violence
Training for the project
„Triple V: Values vs. Violence“
This project has been funded with support of the Daphne III Programme from the
European Commission.
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot
be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained
Educator’s Manual 2
Intercultural Education, Conflict Management, Media and Violence
Günther Gugel
©2011, Institut für Friedenspädagogik Tübingen e.V.
Layout: Manuela Wilmsen, eyegensinn
Illustrations: P. 58 Burkhard Pfeifroth, P. 92 gmx
Translation: Dr. Nell Zink
Kreisjugendring Rems-Murr e.V.
Marktstr. 48, 71522 Backnang
Institut für Friedenspädagogik Tübingen e.V.
Corrensstr. 12, 72076 Tübingen
[email protected]
Preface______________________________________________________ p. 5
Learning Modules
Intercultural Education____________________________________ p. 6
Understanding Culture_____________________________________ p. 8
Dealing With the Unfamiliar_ ________________________________ p. 11
Prejudices and Stereotypes__________________________________ p. 12
Perception and Communication_______________________________ p. 13
Migration und Integration_ _________________________________ p. 14
Multicultural and Transcultural Societies_ ______________________ p. 15
From Intercultural to Global Education_________________________ p. 17
Pedagogic Approaches_ ____________________________________ p. 18
Workshop Overview________________________________________ p. 20
M1 Culture: The River of Life____________________________________ p. 24
Cultural Dimensions_______________________________________ p. 25
M3 Collectivistic and Individualistic Cultures_ ______________________ p. 26
M4 What Is Typically … ?_ _____________________________________ p. 27
M5 Affinities________________________________________________ p. 28
M6 Going over the Line________________________________________ p. 29
M7 “Othering”: We and the Others_ ______________________________ p. 30
M8 Group-Directed Misanthropy in Europe_ ________________________ p. 31
M9 Foreigners In Their Own Country______________________________ p. 33
M10 Xenophobia in Europe______________________________________ p. 34
M11 The Image of Islam________________________________________ p. 35
M12 Understanding Communication_______________________________ p. 36
M13 Your Opinion_____________________________________________ p. 37
M14 Project: Improvisational Theatre______________________________ p. 38
M15 Project: Evidence of Ethnicity________________________________ p. 41
M16 Project: The Island Game_ __________________________________ p. 42
Conflict Management______________________________________ p. 43
Conflict Escalation_ _______________________________________ p. 44
Intercultural Conflicts______________________________________ p. 46
Constructive Conflict Management_ ___________________________ p. 48
Implementation__________________________________________ p. 50
Workshop Overview________________________________________ p. 51
M1 All About Conflict_________________________________________ p. 55
M2 What Characterises Conflict?_________________________________ p. 56
M3 The Conflict Curve_________________________________________ p. 57
M4 Culture of Conflict_________________________________________ p. 58
M5 Escalation of conflict_ _____________________________________ p. 59
M6 What causes Escalation? What causes De-escalation?_ _____________ p. 60
M7 Needs in Conflict__________________________________________ p. 61
M8 Constructive Conflict Management_ ___________________________ p. 62
M9 Dealing with Problematic Situations___________________________ p. 63
M10 Building a Mosque_ _______________________________________ p. 64
M11 Conflict Analysis__________________________________________ p. 65
M12 Shifting Perspectives_ _____________________________________ p. 66
M13 The Tetralemma_ _________________________________________ p. 67
3. Media and Violence _______________________________________ p. 68
Media as Environment _ ____________________________________ p. 68
Violence in the Media______________________________________ p. 69
The Influence of Violence in Media_ ___________________________ p. 70
How Much Media Violence Should Be Tolerated?_ _________________ p. 72
Potential Risks of Internet Use_ ______________________________ p. 73
Mediated and Real-World Violence_ ___________________________ p. 75
Competence in Using Media_ ________________________________ p. 76
Approaches for Educators___________________________________ p. 79
Workshop Overview________________________________________ p. 80
Media Log_______________________________________________ p. 83
M2 Understanding and Modifying Advertising_ _____________________ p. 84
M3 Trailers for Films and Computer Games_ ________________________ p. 85
M4 Your Opinion_____________________________________________ p. 86
M5 Learning Circle for Media and Violence_ ________________________ p. 87
M5-1 War Movie – Antiwar Movie?_ ________________________________ p. 88
M5-2 Heroes_ ________________________________________________ p. 89
M5-3 Violent Games, Pro and Contra_ ______________________________ p. 90
M5-4 Women and Men in Media_ __________________________________ p. 91
M5-5 Adapting Advertisements___________________________________ p. 92
4. Bibliography ____________________________________________ p. 93
“Triple V: Values vs. Violence” is an international project designed to address central
questions of human existence and coexistence. The project seeks to enable young
people to examine their own unspoken values and inspire them to value-based action. The first educator’s manual provided basic programme information and learning
This second manual takes up three additional thematic areas that are central to Values
Communication: intercultural education, nonviolent conflict resolution, and violence
in the media. Modern societies are multicultural societies in which people with vastly
different cultural backgrounds live together at close quarters. How one deals with
the “other” – the unfamiliar – has become the key to understanding oneself. This
process touches on the realms of personal identity and cultural belonging and raises
questions of how we differ from other people and what we have in common.
Conflicts are part of life for both individuals and groups. Knowing what makes conflicts escalate and being familiar with techniques of de-escalation and constructive
conflict management are indispensable to peaceful coexistence.
The world we live in is strongly influenced by media and sometimes dominated by
them. Onscreen depictions of violence – whether fictional or documentary – are
ubiquitous, and they can be very alluring to children and youth. Knowledge of the
risks that arise when young people are confronted with media violence, but above
all of the opportunities it presents and possibilities for using it productively, is thus
of central importance in contemporary education.
The manual’s three thematic areas are all related to the topic of values. Intercultural
encounters, active conflicts and media in both their form and content are instances
where values become explicit and are transferred from one person to another, whether
consciously or unconsciously. The themes are not merely interrelated on the rational,
cognitive level. They were chosen because they touch young people’s emotions.
In its practical orientation, this handbook has two central aims. Beyond its use in
the training of Values Communicators for the Triple V programme, it will serve as a
basis for project activities with youth groups and school classes. Instructional activities are supported with basic theoretical texts as well as practical, method-oriented
teaching materials and media.
(1) Günther Gugel: Instructor’s Manual 1: Living Values. Tübingen/Backnang 2011.
1. Intercultural education
The development of intercultural competence, understood as a broadening of our
perceptual capacities with respect to the unfamiliar and our ability to tolerate “the
other” in spite of differences is regarded by the UNESCO as a central aim of its programme of education for peace, human rights and democracy.
Contact with other cultures is a precondition for effective intercultural education.
In the past, such encounters most often took place in the context of exchange programmes, city twinning, and years or semesters spent abroad by students. The new
challenge presented by today’s world is that intercultural encounters increasingly
take place close to home. In a sense, their locus has shifted to the everyday routine.
When what was once distant draws close, it loses the allure of the exotic and becomes
simply strange and unfamiliar (cf. Neckel 2010, pp. 54ff.).
The concept of intercultural education thus addresses challenges internal to local
societies as well as those that arise on the international level.
• It is important for humanitarian reasons: Cultural minorities are present in every
society. Given the increase in international migration and integration and the
growing stream of refugees, there is a tremendous need for improved mutual understanding.
• It is important for political reasons: It will be impossible to continue to discriminate
and withhold basic rights on the basis of nationality without damaging the fabric
of democracy.
• It is important for economic reasons: Isolationist policies are no longer viable.
• It is important for universalistic reasons: The real-life utopia of “one world” can
only be made a reality through processes of reciprocal learning.
• And last but not least, it is important for psychological reasons: It has the potential
to broaden individual horizons and bring increased maturity.
What intercultural education must achieve
“Education today is, more than ever, an intercultural task, in the context of which
learning to deal with unfamiliar cultures, with one’s own culture as ‘other’ – its alterity – and with parts of ourselves that seem ‘other’ are all of central significance,”
Christoph Wulf wrote (2006, p. 257). Intercultural education today has the mission
of fostering respect for cultural diversity and mutual understanding for different
ways of life without neglecting the realisation of human rights. For our society, that
means in concrete terms the necessity of:
• guaranteeing cultural minorities protection from undue interference to ensure
their psychological and physical safety and security in all realms of life;
©2011, Institut für Friedenspädagogik Tübingen e.V.
• acknowledging the existence of discrimination, including structural discrimination, in order to dismantle it by eliminating disadvantages and discrimination in
laws and regulations as well as in routine practice;
• displaying solidarity by providing support and assistance to disadvantaged people
through our everyday conduct;
• enabling participation by granting cultural minorities the right to take part on
an equal footing in the political, societal and economic arenas;
• realising equality on all levels of society by not only practicing tolerance but also
by cementing the foundations of equal (barrier-free, inclusive) opportunity for
Subject areas for intercultural education
Local inter-group coexistence
• Question own values
• Tolerate the unfamiliar
• See the unfamiliar as a challenge
• Think and reflect
• Learn to recognise prejudices in oneself and others
International encounters
• Interest in the new and unfamiliar
• Communication skills
• Learn how language works
• Learn languages
• Know how to handle conflict
• Be prepared to face aggression
• Handle culture shock
(on departure/arrival)
• Get to know one’s own cultural identity
• Learn the stages of adaptation to a
foreign culture
• Learn to value the familiar and un familiar on equal terms
• Discussion on the basis of acknowledged universal human rights
• Refusal to resort to violence or threats of violence
• Tolerating the unfamiliar without fear and learning to deal with one’s own fear of the unknown
• Curiosity about otherness
• Recognising alternative cultures and norms as of equal value with one’s own
• Tolerating conflicts and resolving them constructively
Intercultural education in this sense thus goes far beyond effecting changes in individual attitudes. It demands that we reject nationalistic thinking that links the right
to belong and participate to notions of hereditary citizenship based on a family’s
having lived and worked in a certain place for many generations. It necessitates
reorientation toward a conception of belonging that acknowledges today’s transnational, trans-cultural ways of life. In the educational setting, that means intercepting deep-seated insecurities. The process of attitudinal change is invested with
strong emotions and releases powerful anxieties.
©2011, Institut für Friedenspädagogik Tübingen e.V.
To enable productive contact with other cultures and create the potential for intercultural exchange, knowledge of other languages is as important as knowing one’s own.
Foreign language skills should be taught and encouraged as early as possible.
Intercultural education should make the differences and commonalities among different cultures readily perceptible, but the decisive learning processes will take place
when conflicts and taboo subjects are not disregarded but deliberately addressed and
when there is an active search for constructive forms of conflict resolution.
Diversity, acceptance, and tolerance should not be allowed to drift into indifference
and relativism. Instead, they should continually be measured against the yardstick
of human rights. Cultural diversity should be highly valued. Beyond gaining an understanding of foreign cultures, it always involves grappling with and reflecting on
one’s own culture and cultural identity.
Subject areas in intercultural education
• Understanding culture
• Dealing with outsiders
• Prejudices and stereotypes
• Perception and communication
• Intercultural conflicts
• Migration and integration
• Multicultural and transcultural societies
• From intercultural to global education
1.1 Understanding Culture
Cultures are not fixed, unchanging monoliths. Nor are they inextricably linked to
certain countries or speakers of a certain language. Instead, they are extremely
variable and flexible. Culture in the broadest sense means everything that people
produce, shape or influence. It is commonly placed in opposition to nature, but even
wilderness is today most often encountered in forms that have been massively altered
by human intervention.
Culture can also be understood as the production of, and interaction with, symbols
and signs. Hall (1976) writes that a culture consists only to a very small extent of
explicit, visible elements such as literature, language, art, music, technologies, customs or traditions. What is most important in a culture is inconspicuous and must first
be painstakingly uncovered: its values, norms, concepts of time and other more subtle
influences on identity. Cultures and subcultures develop their own specific modes of
©2011, Institut für Friedenspädagogik Tübingen e.V.
action and communication which can appear self-evident and normal in the given
cultural context and thoroughly odd when viewed from the outside. Being a foreigner
or outsider means that habitual behaviours lack their self-evident justification and
can no longer be practised without prior modification. “Business as usual” becomes
impossible (Neckel 2010, p. 57).
art, music,
customs, traditions,
(probably conscious)
(probably unconscious)
Values, norms,
conception of time,
way of appropriating space,
Hofstede (2008) differentiates among five dimensions of cultural difference:
• Access to power: How are power and inequality dealt with in a culture?
• Collectivism vs. individualism: Which does the culture prefer?
• Masculinity vs. femininity: Which influence is stronger in the culture?
• Avoidance of insecurity: How is risk dealt with?
• Long-term vs. short-term orientation: Which does the culture display?
These dimensions can be used to identify and describe commonalities and contrasts
between cultures. The process of globalisation leads elements of once disparate
cultures to converge. With regard to lifestyles and values, that convergence is often
decried as rampant westernisation. At the same time, it provokes conscious selfdifferentiation that heightens contrasts.
Increasingly, a phenomenon can be observed that has been called “hybridisation,”
meaning the cultural combination of seemingly incompatible ways of life. In most
societies, several cultures or subcultures coexist side by side. With time, they mix,
even though the majority society continues to function as a “dominant culture,”
authorised by its quantitative predominance to represent and define the community
as a whole. Dominant cultures are characterised by their access to power and their
tendency to “co-opt” sub- and minority cultures.
©2011, Institut für Friedenspädagogik Tübingen e.V.
living enviroment
high culture
ethnic group
cultural treasures
cultured people
to care for
preserve or improve
to dwell in
to cultivate
bacterial culture
to honour
cult pilgrimage
cult of the Virgin
cult movie
religious cult
IKO 2004;
Social perceptions and styles of verbal and nonverbal communication are as culturedependent as are the lifestyles, modes of behaviour and the self-images of specific
groups. Thus they can only seldom be decoded intuitively by outsiders and are nearly
always in need of interpretation. Not infrequently, they lead to misunderstandings
and even open conflict.
“The concept of culture comes from
the Latin ‘colere’ and has four different meanings:
1. to dwell in
2. to care for, decorate, develop,
preserve or improve
3. to cultivate or farm
4. to honour, worship or celebrate”.
InWent 2006, p. 12.
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1.2 Dealing With the Unfamiliar
The behaviour of “foreigners” – their worldviews, manners, morals and customs –
constantly calls into question the validity of familiar behaviours that are considered
“normal.” This continual confrontation can be unsettling and is felt to be an unwelcome interrogation of one’s own values and lifestyle. Instead of being addressed,
the provocation is generally deflected, minimised or suppressed in the interest of
preserving our own self-image as strong and superior. In reality, pride in being “normal” serves to hide insecurity and a lack of self-confidence. Through denigration
of the other, we try to convert our own weaknesses into a sensation or illusion of
Each encounter with “the other” is thus initially an encounter with repressed and
denied aspects of ourselves. Our relationship with the foreignness we encounter
outside ourselves will depend on what aspects of ourselves we treat as foreign. Those
“internal foreign countries,” a phrase coined by Freud, have a decisive influence on
our experience of outsiders.
For intercultural education to succeed, young people need direct experience of what it
means to be foreign. Conscious awareness of the “foreign bodies” in their own makeup
is a vital first step, as Christoph Wulf (2006) emphasises. Only on that basis can they
develop openness to the other and view situations from the other’s perspective.
The situation gives rise to new responsibilities, among them a need for new ways of
Manifold identities
“Every human being has many
group affinities. Everyone displays
many different patterns of community, including the most important
commonality that we all share, our
identity as human beings. The diversity of identities is, where group
violence arises, always minimised.
Violence is called for by privileging
a single affinity as a person’s ‘real’
identity. Out of that arises the imaginary notion of a confrontation
between people that runs exactly
along the line that separates them
(…) We all belong to many different
groups and can feel loyalty and
closeness to every one of them. It is
the reduction of our diverse identities to the crude singularity of a
single identity that is responsible
for an unnecessary distancing from
one another.”
Amartya Sen, “Considering Our Commonalities,” Frankfurter Rundschau,
Nov. 30, 2007, p. 34.
representing the other and for new loyalties and solidarities.
Georg Auernheimer points out that images of the other always play a role when we
define intercultural contacts in terms of “in group/out group” relationships. Those
images of others guide both our own expectations and our expectations regarding
the expectations of others, thus influencing our actions and reactions. Our stereotypes and prejudices in this context are not of a purely individual nature but are
communicated by society and tradition.
Holzbrecher (2005, p. 401) shows that barbarism arises where foreignness is walled
out. European history demonstrates, he writes, that contact and interaction with
other cultures can be understood as a precondition for the development of civil
society. Seeming sources of tension – radical transformations, border crossings, the
management of stressful relationships – are in fact essential preconditions for the
humanisation of political relationships and social practices.
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1.3 Prejudices and Stereotypes
By prejudices we mean hasty judgments about others that have a strong generalising tendency, are repeated regularly, and serve to label and categorise. The term
prejudice is used here to mean negative attitudes toward groups or persons that are
justified solely by reference to group belonging. Individuals are disparaged not on
the basis of their personal qualities but on account of their perceived membership
in a certain group (Zick u.a. 2011, p. 31). Prejudices and negative stereotypes applied to persons from immigrant families, for example, express the notion that their
groups are of low value whilst one’s own is correspondingly high. Various groups
are held by virtue of prejudicial assessments to be lazy, untidy, stupid, avaricious
or even to possess congenital criminal inclinations. They are ascribed responsibility for larger societal problems and deficits such as demographic shifts, the lack of
affordable housing, high unemployment and the like. In the most extreme cases,
groups considered undesirable are subjected to discrimination, oppression and even
state-sanctioned violence.
Discrimination takes place not only in everyday life through insults, harassment,
humiliation or acts of violence, but also in businesses and government offices. Its
Negative stereotypes – Islam
After the end of the Cold War, communism ceded its role as the enemy
of western civilisation to Islam.
Mentions of Islam provoke, for
many people, associations of terror,
world domination, intolerance, or
the oppression of women that are
regarded as direct threats, calling
for active rejection or resistance.
Islam is presented as an exotic and
strange religion typified by Islamism – that is, militant fundamentalism of an Islamic stripe – so that
distinguishing the two becomes
The question – and not only for
educators – becomes: How can the
spontaneous association “Islam
= terror” be undermined and
replaced (Auernheimer 2008, p.
208), and what role do media play
in that process?
victims may be offered less advantageous job assignments, lower pay, more dangerous
work, higher insurance rates, or even no possibility of working at all. Discrimination
becomes apparent in laws that withhold or ration civil rights or educational privileges, in visa regulations, in reduced mobility, tax disadvantages, or the granting of
employment only when no other candidate can be found.
Negative stereotypes are communicated through socialisation and serve as patterns
for the interpretation of societal and political events. They are prejudices related to
beliefs about groups, ethnic backgrounds, nationalities or ideologies (see Sommer
2005, pp. 303ff.), and they lead people to perceive reality in a negatively distorted
way. A person’s own positive self-image is maintained or idealised with the aid of
caricatures of others. Such stereotypes mitigate the need to face reality, explaining
anxieties and justifying recourse to violence. Fighting to eradicate an “enemy” is al-
Islamic and Christian worlds
“The contrast is not between the
Islamic and the Christian world but
between differing points of view
within the Christian world and likewise within the Muslim, Hindu and
Buddhist worlds. To assume their
internal homogeneity is a great
mistake. Seeing their conflict as a
‘clash of civilisations’ is an equally
great mistake.”
Amartya Sen, Frankfurter Rundschau, January 21, 2011, p. 31.
ways legitimate. With the help of negative stereotypes, opinions can be manipulated
and politically questionable decisions can be legitimated. The central characteristics
of negative stereotypes are:
• Negative assessment: The opponent is seen as unappealing and generally inferior
in moral or other terms.
• Dehumanisation: The opponent is divested of his or her membership in the human
species, becoming a “rat,” “cow,” etc. exempt from being treated in accordance with
moral norms.
• Attribution of guilt: The opponent is assigned sole responsibility for negative
• Zero-sum thinking: The opponent is regarded as innately bad and aggressive. Any
action that gives him aid and comfort is seen as harmful to one’s own interests.
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The societal function of such practices lies in their ability to distract attention from
societal problems and crises – that is, the opponent functions as a scapegoat – and
help to integrate one group by simplifying exclusion of another. Annual reports on
human rights from organisations such as Amnesty International repeatedly indicate
that such attitudes (especially as regards refugees) are incompatible with the Human
Rights Charter and the convention on the Rights of the Child. That such prejudices say
more about the psychological makeup of those displaying them than about the groups
they purport to describe is evident in their distribution. The lower the proportion of
a group in the population, the greater the prejudices against it will be.
1.4 Perception and Communication
Approximately 6,900 languages are spoken worldwide. Mandarin Chinese is the most
common, with 930 million native speakers. English has 565 million, Hindi 400 million, Spanish 375 million, and Russian 291 million native speakers. German is in 12th
place (EED 2007, p. 10).
Language is our key to the world, closely linked with perception and understanding.
Social perceptions are culturally influenced; that is, whether we perceive a given
thing as strange or normal depends on our cultural background. Interpretation of
what we perceive determines our assessment of it. Here nonverbal communication
plays a central role in addition to language skills.
Dealing with communication difficulties should be regarded as an integral element
in intercultural education. The subjective perception of a language barrier does
not depend on the ability to speak the other language alone (Haumersen and Liebe
1990). Inability to understand someone else is often experienced as helplessness and
Communication brings people
together – right?
Conditions under which prejudice
can be reduced by inter-group
•The interacting groups must be
similar with regard to socio-economic background and position
in society.
•The contact situation must be
based on cooperation on an
equal footing so that the groups
can work together towards goals
shared by all.
•The inter-group contact situation
must provide opportunities for
personalised, informal exchange.
•The contact must take place in an
atmosphere of equality.
•The contact must take place in
a format that makes room for
the contradiction of negative
Positive developments in interpersonal relationships will also
require action on the macro level of
government policy.
Cf. Günther Bierbrauer: Die Bedrohung kultureller Weltsichten, in
J. Calliess, ed.: Der Konflikt der
Kulturen und der Frieden in der Welt
oder: Wie können wir in einer pluralistischen Welt zusammenleben?
Rehburg-Loccum 1995, p. 207.
impotence. When language fails, there is no way to communicate our self-image to
the other adequately or use words to defend ourselves. We are at the mercy of forces
beyond our control. Such experiences are often associated with a feeling or assumption that others are talking about us or making fun of our situation.
The problem should not, therefore, be formulated as “How can we avoid language
difficulties?” Instead it must be: “How can language difficulties be put to productive
Misunderstandings are an inevitable part of intercultural and international encounters. The failure to understand words is usually connected to an inability to understand the context, customs and practices that lie behind them. We can react by
withdrawing. But failure to communicate can also become an occasion to examine
the causes.
Retreat means that communication can take place only with speakers of the same
language. Further efforts toward mutual understanding and communication are
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abandoned. In the strangeness of an intercultural/international encounter, the option of retreat exercises an important stabilising influence on the native language.
Thus the aim is to learn to deal constructively with situations in which one cannot
understand everything – that is, to coexist with uncertainties, mysteries and doubts.
To tolerate and work productively with the unknown is one of the most important
skills in intercultural education.
Language is more than an instrument for communication. It makes constant reference to the culture that underlies it and is thus always at the same time a carrier of
culture. When we deal with language, we deal with culture.
In intercultural encounters, linguistic facility creates access to power. The way in
which a group deals with the language problem betrays something about its power
structures. In consequence, deliberate preparations for limited communication
should be made in advance. Reaching consensus on what has been requires an investment of time. It should be included in the agenda, since intercultural encounters
rise and fall with the obligation to communicate.
1.5 Migration and Integration
Immigrants and their families do not constitute a homogeneous sociocultural group.
That was the central finding of the Sinus Study (2008, p. 2). Conducted in Germany, it
instead posited “migrant milieus,” which proved to be diverse and highly differentiated. They were distinguished less by ethnic origins and social status than by values,
lifestyles and aesthetic preferences. That is, people with different ethnic origins from
the same milieu had more in common than their compatriots from other milieus. No
conclusions could be drawn about milieu based on knowledge of country of origin
alone. Barriers to integration were most commonly found in low-status milieus and
those practising a religious faith.
Researchers quantifying the degree of social integration of an individual or group
often look at the frequency and intensity of interethnic contacts. They include casual
acquaintanceship, friendship, partnership and marriage (Bundesamt für Migration
2010, p. 5).
Parents can have a highly positive influence on the level of integration of their children. That is apparent in, for instance, the more successful integration of children
whose parents speak the local language, are better educated, have a positive attitude
toward the children’s social contacts or have friends in the established society.
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According to the Union Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR), more than 43 million
people worldwide are currently
involuntary nomads, having fled
their homes to find sanctuary from
war, environmental catastrophes,
hunger or poverty. Over 15 million currently live outside their
countries of origin. More than 40
percent of refugees are children
under 18. Only a few – around five
percent – enter Europe, while most
simply cross the nearest border.
Migration movements and forced
expulsions proved to be among the
major issues of the 20th century
and are poised to play a major role
in the 21st. Specialists are already
speaking of a new “century of the
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1.6 Multicultural and Transcultural
The “multicultural society” has repeatedly been proposed as a model for the overcoming of xenophobia and as a schematic programme for peaceful intercultural coexistence, sometimes as a long-term goal and sometimes as a reality that already
exists on a small scale (cf. Demorgon/Kordes 2006, p. 27ff.). There are substantial
differences, however, in the understanding of how multicultural societies are defined,
how they are assessed, and whether the goal is a desirable one. On the one hand,
they are seen as a potential means of coping with pressing societal problems and
developments. On the other, a multicultural society is felt by much of the population
to be a threat linked to the idea of losing familiar cultural landmarks in parallel with
a population explosion.
The notion of peoples and cultures that are neatly separated from one another has
never been realised from a historical perspective. Cultures have always exchanged
goods and ideas and are continuously influenced and changed by others. There are
neither homogeneous national entities nor can culture be stopped by international
borders. The right to diversity can be asserted by individuals and groups and gives
them the freedom to select alliances and preserve differences. Countries have no
right to compel individuals to submit to a single culture.
Many politicians see the concept of the multicultural society as having failed, arguing
that certain immigrant groups have no desire to be integrated and that the dominant
culture has a legitimate claim to be regarded as a standard Leitkultur. Multiculturalism is nonetheless seen by many as the only viable option for the future, since assimilation by immigrant groups – that is, total conformity with or submission to the
majority culture – can hardly be enforced in a democracy.
But the idea of a multicultural society is nonetheless problematic. The ideal of equal
rights and opportunities for all members of all cultures and subcultures in a society
is only then capable of fulfilment, measured against universal standards of human
rights, when those principles are accepted by all. That is unlikely to be the case with
fundamentalist or nationalist subcultures. Likewise, the political and historical experiences that various ethnic groups bring to the table should not be disregarded.
The pressure that the dominant culture invariably exerts can significantly limit the
free development of other cultures. For example, preservation and maintenance of a
traditional language is an important prerequisite for the preservation of a culture, but
stands in opposition to integration into the educational system of the host country
and the world of work, with all their linguistic demands, that are vital to equality
of opportunity. The question of whether a given ethnic group even wants to take
part in a “multicultural process” is often assumed to have been answered in the affirmative. But is that really the case? Migration research has shown that after their
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immigration, ethnic groups frequently exist in a phase of near-solipsistic closure for
long periods of time before at last opening themselves to the remainder of society.
That slow process of finding their own identity should not be misinterpreted as the
formation of a parallel society or combated, but instead should be understood as an
intermediate stage on the path of integration. It must be actively fostered through
adequate protection for minorities.
Immigrant and Muslim populations in Europe
Main countries of origin
7.00 %
12.3 %
Great Britain
4.00 %
9.1 %
10.00 %
10.4 %
North Africa, primarily Algeria
6.00 %
10.1 %
Indonesia, Surinam, Morocco, Turkey
2.10 %
4.3 %
Balkans, especially Romania, Africa
0.14 %
7.3 %
Africa, Cape Verde Islands, Ukraine
0.07 %
1.8 %
Eastern Europe including Ukraine
0.03 %
3.1 %
Romania, Bulgaria, especially formerly Hungarian areas
Turkey, former Soviet Union, eastern Europe
Southeast Asia, Pakistan, Caribbean islands, Poland
Zick u. a. Die Abwertung der Anderen. Berlin 2011, S. 24.
Culture cannot be understood as static, homogeneous or nationalised. It is constantly
subject to change, development, adaptation and defensive regrouping. The cultures
where immigrants arrive consist, on closer examination, of diverse subcultures that
are influenced and intermixed by various group belongings as they attempt to strike
a balance between innovation and preservation. That intermixture of cultures was
described by the philosopher Welsch (1996) as “transculture” (cf. Bittl 2008). In the
process of continual change, sustainable answers must be found to those questions
that arise from the persuit of legal, social and economic equality of all cultures and
from the palpable anxieties of both native and migrant populations. The conscious
will to move actively toward achieving parity for all groups is a decisive factor.
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1.7 From Intercultural to Global
The move from intercultural education to global education, meaning education that
addresses the diverse influences and effects of globalisation in conjunction with the
notion of “one world,” today appears necessary and unavoidable. Global education
provides access to a global view of the world and makes the reciprocal relationships
between local environments and global processes visible.
The concept of global education is regarded as the second pillar of future-oriented
education, supplementing education for sustainability. The term is not used in a
uniform way, but consistent usage should make clear that the concept refers to the
overcoming of purely national interests in favour of societal, political and social
development and interaction in the global arena with the attendant opportunities
for educational action and reaction. The Swiss project “Forum School for One World”
defines global education as the communication of a global perspective, shepherding pupils toward personal judgments and action that incorporate a sense of global
responsibility in all phases of education.
In terms of policy, implementation of global education at elementary and secondary
levels that goes beyond the communication of cognitive orientations is largely to be
found in social, rather than academic, areas of instruction. Conventional forms of
instruction should be modified and added to, and the overall organisation of teaching
and learning should be reconsidered.
Five criteria played central roles in the development of the concept of global education:
1. Integrating global change: Global education should have the global changes that
are currently taking place (economic integration, environmental risks, refugee
movements, migration) as its reference points. The theme of global risks is considered particularly relevant for the future development of humankind. Such threats
are characterised by their affecting multiple regions, the majority of people living
within those regions, and generations to come.
2. Enabling innovative learning: Creative problem solving that takes possible developments and future circumstances into consideration in an anticipatory and
participatory way must be actively taught or even raised to the status of general
educational principle. Innovative education is oriented toward the future and
takes long-term trends into account as well as the potential impact of today’s
decisions on later generations.
3. Communicating networked thinking: Not only the ecological catastrophes of the
last decades, but also numerous wars and crises have made it clear that problem
analysis, as well as the consideration of possible responses, must reflect more
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than just individual developments and isolated phenomena. The interaction of
different threads of cause and effect is the decisive factor, necessitating a diversity
of analytic approaches. Thinking in networked systems is indispensable.
4. Encouraging lives lived in solidarity: A person’s lifestyle should express solidarity with others. The image of “one world” is, in many areas, already an accurate
depiction of reality. But in everyday life we seldom realise how closely one person’s
lifestyle is linked to another person’s destiny. To live in solidarity as expressed
by the notion of “one world” means considering the impact of one’s own lifestyle
on the life and working conditions of other people in foreign, sometimes faraway
countries and even its effects on the entire biosphere. Part of that is the insight
that the western model of prosperity fuelled by high levels of consumption cannot
be transposed to other countries wholesale.
5. Enabling nonviolent coexistence: Processes of change and transformation never
occur without giving rise to conflicts that are sometimes profound and intractable.
One of the most essential and important tasks for global education is thus to foster
the knowledge, skills and readiness needed for constructive conflict management
and provide appropriate programmes to that end.
1.8 Pedagogic Approaches
The sites of intercultural encounters and intercultural education are now diverse
and can be located in everyday contexts as easily as on trips, in schools or at work.
But not every encounter becomes a learning opportunity, whether short-term or
Auernheimer (1995, p. 239) sees the task of intercultural youth work as follows:
• “To deal with or at least articulate conflicts, especially intercultural conflicts;
• to communicate about opposing stereotypes and prejudices and raise awareness
of limited perceptual schemes;
• to discover alternative points of view and see through others’ eyes;
• to actively seek insight into other ways of life in order to make the rationality of
one’s own lifestyle more relative;
• to experience social and structural disadvantages up close and personally, ideally
in confrontation with real cases, possibly in one’s own group (while avoiding the
‘pedagogy of pity’!);
• to experiment with interventions;
• to gain experience of cooperation across ethnic boundaries;
• to expand one’s cultural repertoire through techniques including playful use of
cultural symbols.”
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One precondition for intercultural education is curiosity about the unfamiliar and,
with that as a basis, curiosity about aspects of oneself that are “other.” Different
lifestyles and cultural affinities should be given venues and opportunities for expression. Instructors and youth should become consciously aware of their own cultural
backgrounds and the associated assumptions, values and norms.
The materials
Materials and teaching techniques to aid intercultural education will be offered below
for the following areas:
• Understanding culture: What defines a culture? What is typically British? What
differentiates the British culture from others? What are the central elements or
the inner logic of British culture, and what are those of other cultures?
• Dealing with otherness: Seeing and getting to know the other in oneself and others. Conscious perception of the effects of otherness. Consciously steering how we
deal with the other. Tolerating difference.
• Prejudices and negative stereotypes: Calling stereotypes and prejudices into
question. Confronting negative images of others and discrimination on the basis
of cultural affinity.
• Fostering intercultural communication: Are insights that could bring about a
change of perspective considered admissible? Is fluency in more than one language
maintained and encouraged?
Intercultural education through
• Art is not subject to the limitations of language and is thus
accessible to children and youth
from different cultures.
•Art represents an important
opportunity to teach children
and youth about their cultural
•The aim of arts education should
be to enable experiences of
cultural richness and diversity.
•Art provides an occasion to work
through ideas about the superiority or inferiority of particular
cultures and to show how cultures
are mutually interdependent,
influencing and fertilising one
•Art gives expression to cultural
•Art is an excellent springboard
for discussions about cultural
Christoph Wulf, Anthropologie
kultureller Vielfalt: Interkulturelle
Bildung in Zeiten der Globalisierung.
Bielefeld 2006, p. 52f.
• Integration and coexistence: Learning to understand what integration means
and how it can be set up to allow migrants to play a role in society. Understanding
integration and coexistence as reciprocal processes in which success depends on
the goodwill of both sides.
The materials collected in this volume can be used in a variety of educational settings,
for day, weekend or evening courses or seminars. The workshop agenda suggested
here is a recommendation and should of course be adapted to suit the audience and
available resources.
Note that instructors should
• reserve a space that is large enough to allow role-playing and free movement;
• provide copies of materials for all participants;
• if necessary, create slides or a PowerPoint presentation.
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1.9 Workshop Overview
The following agenda serves as an example of how the materials might be implemented. Other course designs are of
course possible. Individual sections can be contracted or
expanded depending on how much time is available (an
hour, a day, several days).
1. Introduction: image catalogue
6. Attitude toward the other
• Each participant selects a picture that seems to express
Attitudes toward foreigners in one’s own country are ex-
something about culture.
• Further work: cultural dimensions (M2).
plored using M9 and then compared with a representative
poll (M10). What do the results imply for intercultural education?
2. What is typically …?
The participants formulate their views on what is typical
7. Understanding communication
of their society (M4).
The various dimensions of intercultural communication are
developed cooperatively (M12).
3. Affinities
People have many different affinities, which can be explored
8. Your opinion
and clarified using M5.
In front of the group, participants respond to individual
points while the others complete and comment on their
4. Own experiences: “Going Over the Line”
statements from their own points of view (M13).
Using the exercise in M6, the participants reflect on their
own experiences with otherness.
5. “Othering”
The participants are divided into small groups to discuss
the process of “othering” with the aid of the questions
in M7.
Project-oriented methods
Intercultural education can be integrated in a variety of
projects or carried out as a project in its own right, for
example as:
• theatre (M14)
• the search for roots (M15)
• the “island game” (M16).
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1. Introduction: Image catalogue
• Participants select images that appeal to them with respect to the topic of “values.”
• The images are successively placed in the centre. While
doing so, each participant explains:
Imagining with pictures: Which picture speaks to me? What
do I associate with it? Does the picture express something
familiar or unfamiliar? Participants can also describe personal experiences evoked by the images.
– why she/he chose the particular image. Other participants may ask questions but may not offer appraisals;
– something about her/his own person and her/his expectations concerning the seminar. Here, too, questions
may be asked.
• After this round, the images are arranged next to each
other on the floor so that all images are visible.
Further work
• Cultural dimensions:
Two opposing cultural dimensions, written on index cards,
In which ways do which images reflect cultural dimen-
are laid on the floor as the endpoints of a line. Images are
sions (M2)? The dimensions according to Hofstede: ac-
then arranged along the continuum.
cess to power, collectivism/individualism, masculinity/
femininity, avoidance of insecurity, long-term/short-
term orientation.
Other ways of working with the images:
• “Finding connections”: How are the images linked?
• Lifestyles: How are specific lifestyles expressed? How can
they be identified?
• What countries or cultures? Can the images be assigned
to different regions, nations or groups? What are the
• Categorising by theme: Assign the images to different
thematic areas (communication, prejudices, concept of
culture, migration, integration, etc.)
• Culture, the river of life:
M1 can be implemented in individual or group work. “Mental
The text (M1) emphasises the different influences and the
mapping” is an alternative to drawing “flows.” Smetana’s
transience of cultural phenomena. Participants should
“The Moldau” can serve as a meditative accompaniment
reflect on their own “in-fluences” instead of assuming
(M1, box).
that history, culture and identity are unique and unchanging.
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2. What is typically …?
Worksheets (M4) are distributed and filled out individually.
Using M4, participants articulate their own images of the
A second round can examine participants’ views of other
society where they grew up (autostereotype).
countries and cultures (heterostereotype).
3. Affinities
The affinities can be noted on oversized sheets of paper
People have numerous group affinities, as can be expound-
(A2) so that they can be hung up for easy reading by the
ed and clarified using M5.
The following points should be emphasised in discussion:
• What criteria are used to divide people into groups?
• To what category of people do you feel particularly
• Everyone has a variety of group affinities – which ones
are given priority when we sort individual people?
• Which categories contribute to increasing distance and
excluding others?
• Which affinities create bonds (e.g., family relationships)
and which do not (e.g., hair colour)? What affinities create bonds only under certain circumstances (e.g., country of citizenship)?
4. Own experiences: Going over the line
“Going over the line” is an exercise that expresses personal
The seminar room is divided into two halves using a rope
experiences, opinions, attitudes etc. through movement
or masking tape.
in space, for example: “Who speaks a second language?”
• The entire group begins on one side.
“Who comes from an immigrant family?” “Who regularly
• The instructor presents the statements from M6, keeping
travels abroad on holiday?” The questions should become
in mind that these are adapted to the respective group.
increasingly specific so that difficult experiences and ex-
• Participants who respond in the affirmative cross the line
periences of discrimination come to light.
to the other side of the room.
• The instructor should ask whether anyone has more to
say, but there should be no requirement to explain one’s
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5. “Othering”
“Othering” denotes the process of constructing the ego
The participants discuss the process of “othering” in small
by excluding the other. It entails comparing and differen-
groups using the questions in M7.
tiating the group to which one belongs from other groups
that appear unfamiliar. Denigration of the other serves to
upgrade one’s own group. “The other” is constructed as
an alien entity.
6. Attitude toward the unfamiliar
The statements in M9 are written on a poster-size sheet (or
Using M9, the attitude toward otherness in one’s country
projected on the wall). Participants place coloured stickers
is inquired into and then compared with the results of a
to signify their attitudes to each statement.
representative study (M10). What do the findings imply for
The statements from M8 and M11 can also be included for
intercultural education?
7. Understanding communication
Misunderstandings are the rule in intercultural communi-
Using M12, various dimensions of intercultural communi-
cation. How do they occur and what role is played by the
cation are explored and discussed as a group. Nonverbal
unconscious assumption that one’s own cultural habits are
forms of communication such as poses and gestures are
the “right” ones? Meta-communication – that is, communi-
particularly well suited for clarifying the idea of implicit
cation about the experience of communicating – is a vital
tool for clearing up misunderstandings.
8. My opinion
The scenes and questions in M13 are suited to recall vari-
The statements and questions from M13 are copied and
ous aspects of culture and intercultural education to par-
distributed. Participants respond to each point in front of
ticipants’ minds and help them find mutually agreeable
the entire group, while the others add to and comment on
their statements.
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M1: Culture: The River of Life
“Along its course, a river has only one name. But no river
The Moldau by Friedrich Smetana (1824-1884)
can grow to a majestic size and reach the ocean without
In his musical work “The Moldau” (16 minutes long), the
being fed by tributaries: streams, smaller rivers, and ca-
Czech composer Friedrich Smetana describes his home-
nals join with the original river, bringing it more water,
land’s great river from the source to the mouth.
minerals, mud and life forms than it had originally. When
The journey of the Vltava or Moldau begins at two springs
the river finally reaches the sea, it has nothing but a vague
and continues downstream through gorges and rapids.
memory in common with its original clear spring water. To
Hunters appear. A rustic wedding takes place on the banks.
really understand the essence of a river, one would need
Fog obscures the view. Then the river becomes broader and
to investigate above all the places where its waters come
quieter. Flowing past Prague, it reaches its mouth at the
together – to find out what is complementary, what is mu-
Elbe river.
tually exclusive, what enables renewal …
By associating their own images with the piece, listeners
The places where cultures flow together are hidden, re-
can choose to join Smetana’s musical journey downriver,
placed by unifying myths of a new culture’s origins. Instead
letting themselves be carried along by the current as it
of observing the many pasts that our present has, we only
flows through a changing landscape. But “The Moldau”
see a single past. The seeming stability of our culture gives
can also be understood as the inner journey of life, from
us a sense of identity.”
birth (the source) to death (the mouth), here represented
Ilija Trojanow and Ranjit Hoskoté: Kampfabsage. Kulturen bekämpfen sich nicht, sie fließen zusammen. Munich, 2007, p. 15.
symbolically in musical form as various influences and stations on life’s way.
Task ideas
1. For working individually
3. The search for roots
Imagine you are the river in the metaphor.
What influences from “other” cultures have shaped your
• What influences have shaped you? What did your “tribu-
neighbourhood’s history and culture? Search for them
taries” bring to the picture? How did they enrich the
actively and document your discoveries through photos,
river and how they did they change it?
video, texts, interviews, blogs, etc.
• Draw your river on a sheet of paper and give it and its
tributaries names.
2. For working in groups
• What cultural influences are present in your school or
group? Where do they come from and what do they mean
to you? What would it be like if they were absent?
• Draw a large river that stands for your school (or other institution) on a poster and add and name the tributaries.
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M2 Cultural Dimensions
The cultural anthropologist Geert Hofstede examined the
Cultural patterns and lifestyles that cross cultural
multiplicity of answers that cultures provide to problems
they all share. He formulated five dimensions on which
These lifestyles are derived from the basic categories of the
cultures can be plotted and through which their differences
social order: esprit de corps (bonding with a group) and hi-
can be described:
erarchy (bonding with external precepts). These lifestyles
play the role of regulating needs and resources.
1. Access to power
Is equal opportunity valued, or are large power differentials accepted?
Vorurteile_abbauen_mit_Prof_Flechsig.pdf 08.08.09
2. Collectivism – individualism
Who is in the foreground: the individual or the community
(group, family, clan)?
3.Masculinity – femininity
Which qualities, habits of thought and behaviours have
the most value and influence, men’s or women’s?
4. Avoidance of insecurity
How are unstructured situations and uncertainties dealt
with? Are they actively addressed or passively accepted?
5. Long-term – short-term orientation
Do thought and action revolve around easily attainable
goals or around goals that must be worked toward over
long periods?
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M3 Collectivistic and Individualistic Cultures
Collectivistic Cultures
Individualistic Cultures
High-context cultures
Low-context cultures
Examples: China, Japan, Korea
Examples: United Kingdom, Germany, Scandinavia
• People communicate without explicitly specifying the
• People provide explicit indications of the context of their
broader context of meaning. They assume that the mean-
ing will be obvious to everyone.
• Reliant on the community, a high degree of set roles and
• Independent, responsible for their own actions, self-
• Indirect, multivalent attacks
• Direct verbal attacks
• Persistent effort to avoid causing anyone else to lose
• Follow the strategy of saving their own reputation at the
• Demonstrate consideration of others through non-verbal
expense of others
• Express emotions directly
• Preserve their autonomy
• Express emotions indirectly
• Compete directly
• Respect the autonomy of others
• Defend their own position
• Prefer to achieve harmony
• Seek support from third parties
• Are owed to fortunate circumstances
• Can be traced to personal achievement
• Are attributed to oneself and one’s own defects
• Are attributed to unfortunate circumstances
Cf. Friedrich Glasl: Muss es in Organisationen zum Kulturkampf
kommen? In: TrigonThemen 4/05, p. 3 ff.
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M4 What Is Typically …?
1. What do you rate highly in … culture?
6. What is of particular importance to …?
2. A symbol of … culture:
7. What is typically … for you?
8. What is seen in other countries as typically …?
3. What do … people like?
9. A … person you admire:
10. Name a “typically …” song.
4. What do … people actively dislike?
11. What differentiates “the …” from other nations and
5. What are … people afraid of?
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M5 Affinities
All of us – like it or not – belong to various affinity groups.
But we also have individual characteristics that are shared
by no one.
I alone
My family and I
Many people
High sense of belonging
All human beings
Low sense of belonging
Affinity groups:
Assign characteristics to the individual areas and think of
other characteristics that apply to you:
1 continent
7 language
13 hobbies
2 nationality
8 sex
14 blood type
3 country
9 age group
15 extended family
4 region
10 favourite sport
5 city or town 11 hair colour
6 religion
12 favourite music
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M6 Going Over the Line
“Going Over the Line” is an exercise in which knowledge,
experiences, opinions, attitudes and so on are expressed
through movement in space.
Sample questions:
• Who speaks a second language?
• Who has an immigrant family background?
• Who regularly travels abroad on holiday?
• Who has spent more than four weeks at a time abroad or
has lived abroad for a longer period?
• Who has friends who are citizens of another country?
• Who has been teased or verbally or physically threatened
on account of his or her appearance?
• Who has ever wished he or she looked different?
• Who is in a “mixed” relationship with someone from another culture?
• Who regularly watches TV or listens to the radio in a foreign language?
• Who likes to eat foreign food?
• Who has been inside a mosque?
• …
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M7 “Othering”: We and the Others
“Othering” denotes the process of the construction of the
Are southern Europeans lazy?
self through exclusion of the other. The group to which one
In a speech about the financial crisis on May 17, 2011,
feels a sense of belonging is compared to and distinguished
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “The issue is also
from groups that appear unfamiliar. The differences ap-
that people in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal
pear not only “strange” in the sense of “different,” but are
shouldn’t be retiring younger than people in Germany, that
often subjected to additional value judgments such as “old-
everyone should try to work hard – that’s important.“
fashioned,” “backward,” “inhuman” or even “dangerous.”
The denigration of the other serves at the same time to en-
When do people in EU countries actually start
hance the status of one’s own group. Through the process
collecting pensions:
of “othering,” “others” are constructed as an alien group.
France 59.3 years.
Greece 61.4 years.
Germany 61.7 years.
Portugal 62.6 years.
Spain Select an existing group to which you feel a sense of affinity
ZDF heute, May 29, 2011.
62.6 years.
and compare it with another existing group.
My group is …
The other group(s) is/are …
What “they” do differently:
• This seems strange or inconceivable to me:
• These attitudes are behaviours are backward:
• This is unacceptable:
• All members of this group are:
• This scares me:
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M8-1 Group-directed Misanthropy in Europe
By “group-directed misanthropy” we mean negative at-
Three ideological orientations are especially closely
titudes and prejudices directed against groups defined as
linked to group-directed misanthropy: (1) authoritari-
“different,” “foreign” or “abnormal.” Such prejudices result
anism: a fundamental attitude that affirms law, order and
in a lower social status for the group as a whole. A study
discipline; (2) orientation toward social dominance: fa-
which examined xenophobic, racist, anti-Semitic, anti-
vouring of social hierarchies on a continuum from “high”
Islamic, sexist and homophobic attitudes found that:
to “low” status; and (3) rejection of diversity: a generally
dismissive attitude toward cultural, ethnic and religious
Group-directed misanthropy is widespread in Europe.
diversity within the borders of a single country.
The degree is relatively slight in the Netherlands, relatively
high by contrast in Poland and Hungary. With regard to
Group-directed misanthropy increases with age and de-
xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism, there are only slight
creases with education and income. Men and women have
differences among the countries, while the degree of anti-
very similar attitudes.
Semitism, sexism and homophobia varies significantly.
General political stance is only partially relevant: Those
Around half of all European respondents said their coun-
who characterise themselves as more to the right, feel
tries have too many immigrants. Around 17 percent of
politically powerless, desire strong leadership and sup-
the respondents in the Netherlands and over 70 percent in
port the death penalty are more misanthropic on average.
Poland responded that Jews today try to reap advantages
The overall level of interest in politics is not of apparent
from having been the victims of Nazi genocide. Around one-
relevance to the level of prejudice.
third of Europeans believe that there is a natural hierarchy
among people from different ethnic groups. More than half
Group-directed misanthropy does not always stay on the
condemn Islam as a religion of intolerance. The majority of
level of attitudes. It can have consequences in the form
people in Europe support sexist attitudes that demand a di-
of actions. That was examined with regard to immigrants:
vision of labour along gender lines and demand that women
Those who speak ill of groups with weaker social positions
devote more time and attention to their traditional roles as
are more likely to oppose the integration of immigrants
wives and mother. In the Netherlands, by contrast, rela-
and to refuse them equal political participation. They are
tively few people – only around one-third – favour sexist
more likely to discriminate against immigrants and greet
attitudes. Equal rights would be denied to homosexuals by
them with violence.
only around 17 percent of respondents in the Netherlands
but 88 percent of people in Poland, where a vast majority of
The most important explanatory factors for group-direct-
respondents claimed it is not a good idea to allow marriage
ed misanthropy are, beyond authoritarian and hierarchical
between two women or two men.
basic attitudes, a subjective feeling of being threatened by
immigrants and a feeling of disorientation in today’s world.
These prejudices all differ at first glance, but they are
Low incomes and the feeling of being disadvantaged also
linked to one another: People who express negative views
play a role.
about one group are very likely to express them about other
groups as well. Prejudices may appear to be independent of
each other, but they are apparently closely linked to other
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M8-2 Group-directed Misanthropy in Europe
The most important protective factors to prevent groupdirected misanthropy are trust in other people, a feeling
that one is able to form solid friendships, personal contact with immigrants and above all a positive basic attitude toward diversity. Religious faith, by contrast, does
not provide protection against developing group-directed
misanthropy, and general basic attitudes that emphasise
security and universalism play a very minor role.
Excerpted from Andreas Zick, Beate Küpper, Andreas Hövermann.
Die Abwertung der Anderen. Berlin 2011, p. 14ff.
The syndrome of
group-directed misanthropy
in the European study
of inequality
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M9 Foreigners In Their Own Country
What statements do you agree with?
There are too many immigrants in my country.
Having so many immigrants here makes me feel like a foreigner in my own country.
When jobs are scarce, people whose families have roots here should get first priority.
Immigrants enrich our culture.
Immigrants are a burden on our social welfare system.
We need immigrants to keep the economy going.
Andreas Zick/Beate Küpper/Andreas Hövermann: Die Abwertung der Anderen.
Eine europäische Zustandsbeschreibung. Berlin 2011, p. 62.
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M10 Xenophobia in Europe
Xenophobic beliefs (agreement in percent)
There are too many immigrants …
50.0 62.2 40.3 46.0 62.5 59.6 27.1 58.7
With all these immigrants around, I sometimes feel like
a foreigner in my own country.
37.6 45.8 31.0 37.7 27.0 19.1 19.4 44.6
When jobs are scarce people who were born here should
get first priority.
42.4 50.3 29.5 24.7 55.9 28.2 74.1 71.2
Immigrants enrich our culture.
75.0 71.2 70.8 74.9 61.0 73.7 64.2 57.0
Additional items asked of one-half of respondents
Immigrants are a burden on our social welfare system.
40.8 60.2 54.7 20.3 31.7 42.5 45.8 77.2
We need immigrants to keep the economy going.
60.7 59.5 66.1 64.5 70.7 68.1 42.4 24.2
Andreas Zick/Beate Küpper/Andreas Hövermann: Die Abwertung der Anderen.
Eine europäische Zustandsbeschreibung. Berlin 2011, p. 62.
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M11 The Image of Islam
What do you think of when you hear the word “Islam”?
Culture of violence
Respect for human rights
Culture of peace
Oppression of women
What do you think of when you hear the word “Christianity”?
Culture of violence
Culture of peace 59.6
Oppression of women
Respect for human rights
University of Münster excellence cluster Religion und Politik: Wahrnehmung und Akzeptanz religiöser Vielfalt. Codebuch. Münster 2010.
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M12 Understanding Communication
Communication is more than the mere exchange of infor-
Nonverbal communication
mation. It serves to clarify the relationship among its par-
How are the following expressed in different cultural con-
ticipants and also defines it. For that reason, participants
texts? What happens when the usual conventions or expec-
try to influence the form of the relationship to suit their
tations are not adhered to?
own preferences. Establishing power relations and finding
• polite gestures, gestures of greeting
the right amount of distance are two important functions
• threatening poses, demonstrations of power and
of communication.
• Closeness and distance: How close can I stand to my
• professions of innocence
conversational partner? Can I touch him or her and if so,
• grief and rage
on which parts of the body? What am I allowed to say,
• forgiveness and reconciliation
and what should I never say?
• bodily contact
• Nature of the relationship: Gestures, facial expressions,
• observance of status differences (e.g., within the family,
tone of voice: The entire body communicates the relationship in which the conversational partners stand to
between the sexes, in society)
• treatment of men, treatment of women.
each other. Feelings are expressed through the timbre,
volume and speed of speech. The type of relationship is
only seldom addressed explicitly.
• Is everyone the same? Many people assume that their
own cultural habits and norms apply everywhere and
communicate as if it were a proven fact, which often leads
to problems of comprehension and in making oneself
• With all the senses: Visual cues, sounds, sensations,
tastes, smells and our movements and use of space are
as important as verbal language.
• Differences: There are a variety of cultural differences
– for example the frequency and quality of eye contact,
personal space (closeness and distance), the meaning
of nonverbal gestures, direct or indirect expression of
agreement or disagreement, the use of open displays of
One gesture – many meanings
emotion, etc. Many languages have two words for “you”
– a more formal one (vous, Sie) and a more familiar one
North America: “okay,” “all right”
(tu, du). English does not differentiate. How do Eng-
Greece, Turkey: sexualised insult
lish speakers establish and express different levels of
Belgium, France, Tunisia: “You are a zero!”
Japan: “money”
• Uncertainty: Intercultural communication is character-
Italy: “Ottimo!” “Great!”
ised by many uncertainties (or even anxieties). They are
Central America: “You’re getting on my nerves!“
seldom spoken of explicitly.
InWent 2006, p. 33.
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M13 Your opinion
1. National symbols: Every country on earth has its sym-
6. Affinity: What nation or culture do you feel you belong
bols such as a national flag. What symbols come to mind
to? Do you feel like a European? Like a cosmopolitan citizen
for the following countries: China, South Africa, Mexico,
of the world? Why or why not?
Finland, New Zealand?
7. Roots: What does the place you come from mean to you?
2. Communication: Communication takes place through
What landscape, what images, scents or people do you as-
verbal (spoken) and nonverbal (body language) forms of
sociate with “home”? Have you ever been homesick?
expression. Think about how you might express the following feelings both verbally and nonverbally: happiness,
8. Integration: Should (or must) immigrants pursue “in-
anger, joy, fear, nervousness.
tegration”? How can you tell that a person “fits in”? What
must the immigrant do, and what are the responsibilities
3. Languages: There are more than 6,000 languages in the
of the state and the general public in achieving successful
world. What languages have you heard of? What languages
integration? Think of one example for each.
can you speak? What languages would you like to learn?
What three languages do you think are spoken by the most
9. The visit: Imagine you have a female friend in Morocco
who comes to visit you for a week. You want to show her
around. Where would you take her? What should she see
4. Hierarchy: Some people believe there is a natural hi-
during her week here, and what foods and beverages should
erarchy of skin colour. Do you agree? Why or why not? In
she try?
Germany, 30.5 percent of people say that white people are
better than black people. Except for Italy (18.7 percent),
10. Clothing: What is the origin of your clothing style?
the values for other European countries are even higher,
Can the articles of clothing you are wearing be traced to
and highest in Portugal, Poland, and Hungary. (Spiegel
a specific culture or country? Talk about two things you
Online, March 11, 2011) What are possible reasons behind
are wearing.
such an attitude? How can the differences among countries
be explained?
11. City/country: People in cities usually have different
lifestyles than people in the country. How can such diffe-
5. Heaven and Hell: Heaven is where the police are …, the
rent ways of life be recognised? How are they manifested?
bosses are …, the mechanics are …, the lovers are … and
What is typical of people who live in the city and in the
it is all organized by the … .
Hell is where the bosses are …, the mechanics are …, the
lovers are …, the police are … and it is all organized by
12. Going abroad: What makes you realise that you are
the … .
“away from home”? Where do you feel like a stranger? Is it
Fill in the blanks with the following nationalities: British,
possible to feel that way even in your home country?
French, German, Italian, Swiss. Or would you use different
13. Foreign cultures: If you were assigned to make a short
film about “Foreign Cultures,” where would you film it? What
would your feature show? What kinds of places would you
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M14 Project: Improvisational Theatre
Improvisational theatre and street theatre as methods of
shown that a two-person team consisting of a counsellor
intercultural education offer tremendous potential and
and a theatre teacher is not only enriching for all involved
flexibility for youth work, particularly in the area of per-
but also simplifies obtaining financing.
ception of self and others. Acting without a script allows
the desires, emotions and environments of young people
Rehearsal space
to be brought to the table. Theatre work creates a space
The methods of improvisational and street theatre are fun-
where experiences from everyday life such as bullying,
damentally suited for use with all age groups in educational
discrimination, conflicts and violence can be portrayed
activities. But the setting should be tailored to the target
and analysed. Dilemma situations and conflict escalations
group. For example, it is recommended that any school-
confront the actors with major challenges: How should I
based theatre projects be conducted at a site outside the
decide? What consequences do my decisions have for others
school using personnel not directly connected with the
and the further development of our play? What emotions
school. Attempting to work in an institutional setting
and thoughts do I experience in such situations?
that awakens negative emotions for many young people
Such work demands a high level of enthusiasm and at-
is counterproductive.
tention among participants as well as mutual trust. High
standards must be applied to the framework of the edu-
Performance goal
cational setting and a great deal of attention paid to the
To permit successful cooperation and the necessary disci-
group dynamics that arise.
pline and perseverance, it is important to agree on a goal
There are several ways in which intercultural aspects can be
for the theatre project. It should, however, be open to re-
incorporated and made visible: in the composition of the
view and reformulation over the course of rehearsals. The
group, in the selection of performance venues and above
performance goal could be, for example:
all in the choice of themes.
• participation in a theatre festival with other small groups,
or performances in a pedestrian-only shopping area;
• a performance for an audience consisting of other young
people or parents;
• a series of theatre actions in a defined social space, for
In the youth work context, settings for improvisational or
example, “guerrilla theatre” in pedestrian zones;
street theatre can be designed in a number of very different
• making a video of a self-written piece.
ways, depending on the available time, space and other
Along with a clearly defined goal, the project should also
resources as well as the potential audience.
have a clear framework that is accepted by all the participants. How many rehearsals or practice sessions will there
be? How many performances or actions are planned? What
Improvisational and street theatre demand a high degree
expenses may arise and how will they be covered? Who are
of sensitivity from both directors and actors. Scenes and
the contact people for particular issues and inquiries?
exercises sometimes release such strong emotions and
memories in the participants that they require the intervention of a professional. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that projects engage an additional professional
with training in theatre-based social work. Experience has
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Major events
Every group needs rules. Paying attention, showing mu-
Larger events with other participating groups constitute an
tual respect and nonviolence are the absolute minimum.
exception to the rule that participants must work actively
In theatre work it is especially important that an atmos-
to build trust and confidence. In the context of an event
phere of trust arise and that conflicts that occur in the
such as a street festival, it is generally easy to win young
group are not carried over into everyday life. Rules should
people’s enthusiasm for performing.
be developed and documented as a group, incorporating
input from all the participating young people. Recording
Rehearsals/practice sessions
the rules on a poster or web site as a group helps reinforce
The practice sessions might take the following form:
the willingness of all parties to take the rules seriously
• Before starting, arrange furniture and hang poster with
and follow them.
rules (if applicable).
• Say a few words of welcome.
Start in a closed space
• Explain the procedure.
A theatre workshop should be initiated in a room that can
• Ask the young people how they are feeling. What latent
be made private. In that way, the group has a chance to get
emotions do they bring to the practice session? What
to know each other as well as the theatrical and educational
topics should be handled with care?
staff accompanying the project before they go public.
• The question of the young people’s needs and the themes
they find relevant should be addressed as early as the
In public/on the street
warm-up phase.
Because inhibitions must often be overcome before amateurs are ready to play roles in a theatrical performance on
a public street, the approach to public performance should
be made step by step and with a strong focus on developing
the participants’ confidence. Methods and exercises taken
Pass clap
from experiential education programmes can support the
With the group in a circle, the instructor applauds someone
transition to public performance through trust-building
by clapping in his or her direction once with outstretched
arms. The person then claps at someone else. The applause
Our experience shows that it is wisest to practise on streets
is passed from person to person with steadily increasing
with less foot traffic before moving gradually into areas
with a greater concentration of people such as pedestrian
zones in inner cities. Of course the needs and desires of the
Alphabet game
group must be taken into consideration.
Creative use of language must be actively practised. Lin-
To avoid misunderstandings, street theatre performances
guistic exercises that turn improvising into a game are thus
should always be discussed beforehand with neighbour-
indispensable. Two participants on stage are instructed to
ing shops, businesses and institutions as well as municipal
improvise a dialogue in which every sentence begins with
authorities. Instructors should be prepared to get involved
the next letter of the alphabet. For example, starting with
if a situation threatens to get out of hand. If passersby
the letter I,
or audience members display problematic reactions, it is
Actor 1: I wish Amy would go out with me.
important to provide information on the project and fos-
Actor 2: Just ask her!
ter understanding of its aims. Experience shows that such
Actor 1: Knowing her, she’ll say no.
projects quickly draw attention and attract a circle of inter-
Actor 2: Let her decide for herself. …
ested audience members rather than chance passersby.
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Word-at-a-time story
Going around a circle, each participant says one word so
that the words form a story. They should include punctuation marks. For example,
Actor 1: I
Actor 2: Hope
Actor 3: England
Actor 4: wins, full stop.
Actor 6: But
Actor 7: Italy’s
Actor 1: Chances
Mirror circle
The exercise, sometimes calling “accepting circle,” helps
sharpen observation skills. It is a popular warm-up exercise
for professional actors before performances. Arranged in
a circle, each participant has the opportunity to launch
one “move.” The person standing next to him or her must
repeat the gesture as it was just demonstrated, without
referring back to the original gesture as it was launched.
With increasing distance from the origin, the gestures
sometimes become quite bizarre, demonstrating to the
group that working together requires careful observation
and precision.
Freeze tag
A group sits in a semicircle onstage. Two participants begin
an improvised scene. The theme or topic can be provided
beforehand or improvised. As soon as someone in the audience claps, the actors must freeze. One actor is then replaced onstage by the person who clapped. He or she must
assume the exact position that the actor froze in and then
resume improvising the scene.
Pablo Lauterstein
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M15 Project: Evidence of Ethnicity
The project searches for traces of different cultures in the
locality or region, discovering and documenting their presence.
Such traces can include:
• memorials such as battlefields, cemeteries, or monuments;
• holidays and their origins;
• language: the origins of family and place names, foreign
words that have become part of the local language;
• photographs: “foreigners” in the history of a family,
town or neighbourhood;
• rituals and gestures: ways of greeting, ways of saying
goodbye, rituals of celebration and mourning;
• symbols and their meaning for the construction of social
identity: head coverings, clothing, slang, youth culture;
• art from around the world: how does it vary, and what do
all artworks seem to have in common?
• world music: what kinds of music are heard in all countries and what kinds are specific to certain cultures?
• TV and movies: what films become “cult films,” and what
TV programmes and series are most popular?
See Alfred Holzbrecher: Interkulturelles Lernen. In: Sander: Handwörterbuch politische Bildung. Schwalbach/Ts 2005, p. 399.
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M16 Project: The Island Game
How can coexistence be structured so that happiness is
available to all? What opportunities for participation and
what logistical infrastructure are necessary to make peaceful coexistence possible? The island game simulates a situation is which participants develop their own criteria for
successful coexistence. The game can be played with any
number of people.
• Starting scenario: You are a passenger on an ocean liner
that sinks on the open sea. A lifeboat with 30 (or whatever the number of participants is) people lands on an
uninhabited island. It is about one mile square. There
is plenty of fresh water to drink. The main task of the
survivors is to organize communal life on the island.
• Everyone writes down his or her ideas for the ideal structure on a sheet of paper.
• Everyone tries to persuade as many people as possible to
join a group (that is, political party) that supports his or
her idea.
• When several groups have formed, each one drafts a survival plan in writing.
• The various programmes are presented and explained
(if so desired, in the form of a podium discussion with
representatives of each group). The programmes are then
voted on.
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2. Conflict Management
The attitudes and values of parties to a conflict are revealed in the way conflicts are
perceived and handled. Conflicts that are handled in a destructive way not only cause
human suffering, but they also occasion high material and financial costs because
they disturb or halt normal human interaction. They bring about limitations and even
illness while consuming people’s energy and capacity to work. Conflicts are always
indications of latent problems and difficulties. They show where personal, organisational and structural developments are needed. Constructive conflict management
contributes to violence prevention by defusing potential further escalation and thus
protecting against possible use of violence. Direct participation by students in handling and resolving their own issues simultaneously helps develop their understanding of democratic processes and fosters their democratic participation in society.
Conflicts and behaviour in conflict
Conflicts are part of human coexistence. They are an expression of differing interests, beliefs, and levels of access to resources, power and influence. What threatens
peaceful societal coexistence is not the existence of conflict but our frequent reliance
on problematic ways of resolving it. Such methods require or encourage violence,
preserve injustices, and give an unfair advantage to the side of a conflict that most
stubbornly pursues its own interests in gaining power and advancing its own cause
– to people who argue that they alone have access to “the truth” and that they are
always “right.”
What are conflicts?
A person can often feel a conflict brewing in a physical sense, as a sensation of being
hemmed in or “cramped.” In such cases, conflicts can be read from the body language
of those involved. Conflicts may become audible through raised voices or sudden
Conflict: collision, division,
German dictionary Duden vol. 1,
“We define conflict as a property of
a system in which there are mutually incompatible goals, so that
reaching one goal would preclude
the attainment of the other.”
Johan Galtung: Theorien zum
Frieden. In: Dieter Senghaas (ed.):
Kritische Friedensforschung. Frankfurt 1972, p. 235.
“The concept of conflict should
initially denote every relationship
between elements that can be
characterised by their objective
(latent) or subjective (manifest)
Ralf Dahrendorf: Gesellschaft und
Freiheit. Munich 1963, p. 201.
“A conflict is a struggle over values
and to gain the right to a status
that is lacking, to power and resources, a battle in which interests
that contravene each other necessarily either neutralise, injure or
entirely cancel out the other.”
Lewis A. Coser: Theorie sozialer
Konflikte. Neuwied und Berlin 1965,
excerpts, p. 8.
silences, through accusations and insults or by simple ignoring and “overlooking.”
Conflicts can become visible when information is not shared equally and when people
are excluded, persecuted or even driven out.
While in everyday life conflict is often equated with loud arguments, interests that
are openly at odds, power struggles or the use of violence, the academic field of
conflict studies defines conflict as incompatibilities in thought, feeling and desire
(Glasl 2004). What will be regarded as a conflict depends on the societal and cultural
framework. Spillman (1991, p. 51) shows that many people’s behaviour in conflict
situations can be reduced to a few simple basic forms:
• fight-or-flight reactions
• attempts to gain advantages
• continual intensification of methods used
• adherence to initial positions even in the face of failure
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• loss of nuance and precision in discussion on all levels
• experiencing the conflict as a zero-sum game in which anyone who does not win
will henceforth be excluded
• experiencing conflict situations as an existential threat to our personal safety.
Should a conflict be considered imminent, then all focus is on victory or defeat. The
opponent is disparaged, discredited and bedevilled, and intimidation and threats are
utilised. Confusion, stress and fear are the usual consequences. This can lead to the
use of violence. The ultimate consequence is the destruction of future cooperation.
This characterises conflict escalation.
Basic methods of conflict resolution.
•Destruction of the opponent
•Leaving the scene of struggle
•Forced submission of the opponent
•Voluntary surrender
•Submission by both parties to the conflict Negotiation •Consensus
• Judicial decisions
Regulations • Submission to arbitration
to a third party
2.1 Conflict Escalation
When conflicts are handled inadequately or not at all, it can lead to escalation –
whether desired or not – with regard to their scope and the means employed. This
intensification of the conflict to the point of physical violence is regarded as the chief
marker of conflict escalation.
“Conflicts impact our perceptual abilities and our cognitive and imaginational life
negatively to such a great degree,” Friedrich Glasl writes, “that as the events unfold,
we stop seeing things in and around ourselves accurately. It’s as if we were developing cataracts; our view of ourselves and our opponents in the conflict, of the associated issues and events is narrowed, distorted and becomes totally one-sided. Our
thoughts and imaginings are at the mercy of forces of which we are not sufficiently
aware” (2004, p. 34).
The real problem with conflicts thus lies in the continual danger of escalation, which
leads to an increasing emphasis on strategies involving power and the use of force in
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carrying them out. The conflict becomes increasingly difficult to influence. Finally, it
gets out of control, crossing the threshold into violence, and begins to cause undeniable destruction and suffering.
The escalation of conflicts is thus dangerous because:
• conflicts can no longer be controlled;
• the choice of alternatives for action becomes increasingly limited;
• violence as an option for action is more readily taken into consideration and
• the goal of finding a mutually agreeable solution is abandoned in favour of victory
and seeing the opponent lose;
• emotions get the upper hand;
• destruction and eradication become ends in themselves.
Disputes, arguments and conflicts gain in destructiveness and begin to escalate
whenever they are associated with:
• distorted perceptions
– complex explanations are no longer desired
– prejudices and distrust predominate
• generalisations
– the original point of contention is expanded in scope and the opponent de monised (“you’re aggressive because people like you are always aggressive”)
Situations and Reasons for
Group Conflicts
•Occupation and defence of social
•Property and defence of desired
•Competition to attain goals,
awards etc. (usually at others’
•Rivalry over partners and partnership bonds
•Defence of group members and
social allies
•Striving for recognition, rank
and influence within groups in
accordance with group norms
•Cheering on other group members engaged in conflict
•Testing the limits of tolerance
and the strengths and weaknesses of the partner
Cf. Lothar R. Martin: Gewalt in Schule
und Erziehung: Grundformen der
Prävention und Intervention. Bad
Heilbrunn/Obb. 1999, p. 33ff.,
• the reopening of old wounds
– conflicts that had been considered settled are reactivated
– weaknesses are deliberately exploited
– the entire history of the relationship (or even times prior to it) is re-examined
• emotionalisation and recourse to archaic weapons
– the range of options for available action is reduced to threats and violence
• the mobilisation of fears regarding
– aggression
– injuries
– isolation
• the question of “good and evil”
– interpretation from varying individual standpoints is reframed as a moral ques tion of good vs. evil or right vs. wrong.
• questions of survival
The conflict is defined in terms of the necessity for personal survival. Winning is
encouraged by any means necessary, because the issue becomes one of:
– victory or defeat
– offence or defence
– domination or submission.
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In his vivid description of this dynamic, Glasl (2004) suggests that conflict escalation
occurs in nine steps. The process moves from cementing of positions, polarisation and
the creation of “facts on the ground” to humiliation, threat strategies and controlled
acts of destruction, ending with a collective leap into the abyss (see M4).
If a certain form of violence has come to be employed as a result of the escalation
of a conflict, effective violence prevention will require preventing escalation – that
is, addressing conflicts that have already escalated in such a way that escalation is
halted, allowing the conflicts to be transformed into a constructive means of conflict
A central task for a framework of constructive conflict management is therefore to
counteract conflict escalation at every step with steps toward de-escalation, finding
answers and potential responses while limiting violence or eliminating it entirely and
working toward cooperation and a negotiated solution.
2.2 Intercultural Conflicts
The last decade has seen an observable trend toward framing and carrying out conflicts along ethnic lines. Rather than being explained in terms of economic, political
and social disadvantages or discrimination against certain groups, conflicts are
traced to group origins, language and customs. Supposed characteristics of a group
Ethnic conflicts
One important approach to keep in
mind is that of stopping violence
before it starts. A full-blown
ethnic conflict can begin with a
trivial omission such as failure to
say hello to members of the other
ethnic group, if only for fear of
being associated with them by
unsympathetic neighbours. Left
alone, a habit can easily develop its
own momentum and snowball into
a dangerous escalation: The neighbour is increasingly seen as an
outsider, then as unwelcome, then
as a threat, and finally as someone
to be pre-emptively combated or
even killed. We should react to the
production of negative stereotypes
early, before it is too late, and we
should protect oddballs, critics,
heretics and reactionaries as long
as they do not wish to pursue their
goals through violence. They are an
important part of our society.
Manfred Sader: Destruktive Gewalt.
Möglichkeiten und Grenzen ihrer
Verminderung. Weinheim und Basel
2007, p. 62.
are used to categorise and exclude it. Linking problematic societal and political situations to ethnicity allows us to construct a group as “defective others” (Rodriguez
2003). Often, the beliefs and lifestyles of the group are regarded as incompatible
with our own progressive, enlightened set of values and norms.
The trend is in alignment with the countermovement toward a new nationalism and
ethnocentricity that has arisen in many countries in spite (or because) of globalisation processes and an associated shift toward cross-border integration. As a result,
a great number of conflicts are now defined as “ethnic.” Given the ease with which
ethnic and religious affinities can be exploited, the danger that new negative stereotypes will arise is very great. Ethnic commonalities are most commonly and deliberately emphasised and exaggerated in the initial build-up phase of a dispute, when
they can be deployed as a means of mobilisation and power in the conflict against
“the others” (Schrader 2007). The notion that particular ethnic affinities heighten
the potential for conflict is false. Researchers point out that such attributions always
overemphasise existing dangers and very seldom present the causes behind the
conflict. It is never possible to determine at first glance whether the dynamics of a
conflict are being steered by cultural differences. For that reason, researchers speak
not of ethnic conflicts but at a minimum of “ethno-political” conflicts.
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Cultural conflicts
The biggest lies have the longest
legs, as the saying goes, and the
more transparent they seem, the
more influence they will have.
One of the most shameless: There
is a “culture war,” a “clash of
civilisations.” The truth is: There
are culture warriors, strategists of
confrontation who use culture as an
ingredient in their recipes for wars
to be carried out at other people’s
expense for the benefit of a small
“elite.” Massacres generally kill,
and are carried out by, very large
numbers of people who don’t know
each other, for the benefit of a very
small number who do.
Jürgen Wertheimer: Krieg der Wörter,
Die Kulturkonfliktslüge, Marburg an
der Lahn 2003, foreword.
©2011, Institut für Friedenspädagogik Tübingen e.V.
Friedrich Glasl speaks of intercultural conflicts when:
• culture plays a role in causing the conflict, for example, because the same set
of facts is assigned divergent meanings depending on the observer’s cultural
• perspectives on given values and norms differ, when for instance a person’s struggle
to keep a family together is viewed by others as selfishness;
• conflict goals are defined in cultural terms such as an opposition between materialism and placing high value on interpersonal relationships;
• ways of managing conflict are given fundamentally different assessments by different cultures, for example by meting out high approval to conflict avoidance versus
drawing enjoyment from direct confrontation (Glasl 2005, p. 2f.).
The strategic use of conflict potential in intercultural conflict
Conflict potential
Perspective divergence
Strategic exploitation
of perspective divergence
Misunderstandings and the fear of
Stabilisation of stereotypes: “You can’t
understand me and don’t want to”
Compliance with dominant norms
Personalisation of the conflict: “I’m
is taken for granted
behaving the way I always do, you’re
Power inequality
just too sensitive,” “You are changing
the basis of the conflict in a way I find
Constant and explicit conflicts with
Collectivisation of the conflict: “You
the dominant norms
can act that way because you’re from
here,” “I always get treated badly
because I’m not from here”
Anja Weiß: Macht und Differenz – Ein erweitertes Modell der Konfliktpotenziale in interkulturellen
Auseinandersetzungen. Berghof Report No. 7, Berlin 2001, p. 17.
Again and again, misunderstandings and inaccurate interpretations of others’ behaviour play important roles in intercultural conflict. Even more strongly, intercultural
conflicts are often characterised by imbalances of power that are closely linked to
questions of cultural dominance and hegemony. Power and powerlessness as well
as control over the society’s “legitimate” norms are central issues here. Such conflicts mobilise even more deep-seated fears, so that the actual contest over scarce
resources that lies at the root of the conflict is broadened in scope and generalised
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into a question of principle, of legitimate belonging and its associated rights and
privileges. Prejudices are mobilised and fears of being a foreigner in one’s own country are activated. The parties to the conflict can also exploit the potential for escalation that is linked to the cultural divergence strategically for their own ends, since
intercultural conflicts are, as a rule, asymmetrical, meaning that they are conflicts
characterised by inequalities in opportunities and resources. That creates specific
problems for conflict resolution.
Intercultural conflicts often revolve around proxy themes. In western Europe, such
symbolic battle lines include the permissible height for minarets, women’s freedom
to cover their hair, the wearing of the veil (burka, naqib) in public or by schoolteachers, and also the broader question of whether Islam can ever be a legitimate part of
western European culture.
2.3 Constructive Conflict Management
A nonviolent, constructive way of carrying out conflicts is a fundamental condition for
successful human coexistence. Enabling, supporting and fostering opportunities for
constructive conflict management on the personal, institutional and societal levels
therefore entails finding alternative modes of action that convey mutual esteem and
respect and strive for a fair compromise between competing interests.
Constructive conflict management is based on the following central assumptions (cf.
Fisher et al. 2004, Glasl 2004):
• Conflicts can be resolved more effectively when interests are given greater emphasis
than legal issues and relative positions of power.
• Conflicts should not be assessed in terms of one’s own gains and the opponent’s
losses, but in terms of gains that can be shared. That is, conflicts should be carried
out from the start with the aim of enabling partial attainment of the goals of all
• The conventional communication pattern of threat and accusation must be replaced by a cooperative pattern of understanding and explaining. An indispensable
prerequisite for de-escalation and constructive conflict management is absolute
refusal to threaten or employ violence.
• Since perceptual distortions are typical of escalating conflicts, even one’s own
perceptions and interpretations of events should never be accepted at face value.
They should be subjected to review and revision so that one’s own role in the conflict
can be acknowledged. Readiness to do so is an important step toward acknowledg-
“Suhla” is a conflict resolution
method from the Arabian peninsula
whose origins go back almost 2,000
years. It relies on the use of generally applicable rules in a diverse
and pluralistic society and has been
able to maintain itself over the
centuries despite religious, political and ethnic differences. Suhla is
a long process that consists of five
1. The first step is public confession
of responsibility for damaging behaviour. At the same time, trusted
persons, generally people who
enjoy the respect of the entire community, are asked to get involved in
the dispute.
2. This committee, called “jaha,”
meets several times with the victim
or his or her family until they agree
to take part in the reconciliation
3. After that comes a period of time
called “hodna” during which the
parties to the conflict avoid each
other for three to six months. They
take no acts of retribution and do
not launch any new humiliations or
4. During this time the “atwa” or
compensation is determined. It can
be composed of an official apology
or a sum of money.
5. The last step in the months-long
process is “diya,” a time for displays
of shame and remorse. In the case
of a murder or serious injury, it can
include the payment of symbolic
Finally, the public suhla ritual takes
place. It is overseen by the jaha
committee and contains a number
of symbolic gestures of reconciliation. The ritual ends with a meal
shared by all the parties.
peace prints 01/2002
ing the rights of the other party to the conflict.
• The review of one’s perceptions can most likely be effected by involving an independent third party as mediator. He or she can, as a person trusted by both sides,
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contribute to reaching a shared perspective on the situation. But that alone is not
sufficient. There must also be a shared will to reach a cooperative solution.
• The unilateral creation of any fait accompli – a “fact on the ground” that makes it
difficult to backtrack – is dangerous because it generally has an escalating effect
on the conflict. The other side cannot condone what has been done without losing
• Before negotiations can take place, preliminary discussions are often necessary to
establish the ground rules for further action and smooth the way to an agreement.
Preparatory talks have the additional benefit of reducing the high expectations
directed at the negotiations themselves to a realistic level.
• Resolutions to conflicts should not be dictated by the interests of the stronger
party. They must take a form that assures advantages to all sides, if possible, so
that the solution does not simply become a starting point for new conflicts. In
addition, they should make a contribution to reducing the overall structural use
of force, and they should stand up to ethical examination.
Johan Galtung (1998), however, warns against believing that any or all conflicts
can be resolved for all time. He sees conflict resolution as just another stage in the
conflict process – a new format for the conflict that is desired and sustained by all
parties and acceptable to all. Getting a conflict into a form where a resolution is
even conceivable is a key task in enabling constructive dealing with the conflict.
In principle, conflict resolution is an interminable task, since new contradictions
continually arise and old ones are revived.
Constructive conflict management is a process that never ends. Yet the specific requirements of the approach must always be kept in mind. Violence between the
parties to the conflict must be strictly prohibited. The matter under dispute to be
1. Remember that the process is
about finding a mutually agreeable
solution, not about winning or
2. Advocate interests, not specific
3. Differentiate between people and
issues (find the facts while respecting the individual, as Hartmut von
Hentig put it).
4. Be sure not to hurt people’s
5. Keep the participants’ basic
human needs (security, liberty,
identity) in mind when making suggestions for solutions.
6. Always take steps that expand
the range of possible options
instead of reducing it (a point
particularly emphasised by Johan
7. Do not cause your opponents to
lose face.
8. Only use methods that are
compatible with the goal you wish
to attain.
9. Be sure that your end result conforms to ethical criteria and passes
the test of potential universal
resolved by mediation must be something negotiable. Mediation assumes free choice,
the acceptance of responsibility and genuine willingness among the participants to
reach an agreement, so the power differential among the parties to the mediation
should not be too great.
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2.4 Implementation
The materials provide access to a basic understanding of conflicts and constructive
ways of resolving them. One central element in constructive conflict management is
the need to foster communicative competencies.
• Perceiving and understanding conflicts: The essence of conflicts can best be
illustrated using stories of conflict. A round of questions and answers “all about
conflict” enables a comparison between one’s own understanding of conflict and
the experiences and estimates of others. It is typical of conflicts that communication, perception, attitudes and the goal orientation of the parties to the conflict
change as the conflict runs its course. Conflict analysis is key to understanding
conflicts and being able to resolve them effectively.
• Conflict escalation: As a rule, conflicts run through a number of characteristic
The personal element in conflicts
Even when the subject of a discussion about resolution-oriented
conflict management is not a
concrete, personal conflict that affects the participants directly, it is
nonetheless important to establish
links to the participants’ personal
experiences. Their own – positive
or negative – experience of conflict
and their own possibilities and
limitations when acting in conflict
situations are just as meaningful as
their answers to the question that
sounds so simple: “What would I
have done in a similar situation?”
stages. Conflict escalation as described by Glasl in his nine steps is of particular relevance here, since the potential for reaching a resolution will depend on
which stage of escalation has been reached. Knowing what actions contribute to
escalation and de-escalation is therefore – just as in everyday life – very helpful.
It allows unwanted escalation to be prevented while de-escalation strategies are
implemented in a targeted way.
• Constructive conflict management: Although lasting solutions are not available for every conflict, all conflicts are theoretically amenable to constructive,
nonviolent approaches to conflict management and the prevention of escalation.
The academic field of conflict studies has identified the essentials of constructive
conflict management. Taking the fundamental needs of the parties to the conflict
into consideration plays a central role.
A shift in perspective – that is, an offer to adopt the point of view of either the
other party to the conflict or a third party on a trial basis – is an important method
here. In any given situation, women and men or people of different generations
may have quite different approaches to managing conflict. It is helpful to become
familiar with these various styles and take them into account. Behaving appropriately in conflict and problem situations is something that can be practiced and
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2.5 Workshop Overview
The following agenda serves as an example of how the materials might be implemented. Other course designs are of
course possible. Individual sections can be contracted or
expanded depending on how much time is available (an
hour, a day, several days).
Words of welcome, announcement of the schedule
5.Constructive conflict management
• Small groups formulate summary answers to the ques-
1.All about conflict (M1)
The participants explain their personal views on conflict.
tion “What are helpful actions in conflict situations?”
• Groups develop a scheme of universal human needs. They
examine what role is played in conflicts by the fulfilment
2. What characterises conflicts?
• The participants assess the value of behaviours such as
or violation of those needs (M7).
• Participants list the characteristics of constructive conflict management.
communicating and cooperating in conflict situations.
• The various phases in the course of conflict are clarified
with the aid of the conflict curve.
• The risks and opportunities posed by conflicts are
6. Conflict management case study
• Using selected problem situations (M9), small groups
develop and present their solutions.
• A concrete, existing conflict is taken up, analysed and
3.Conflict escalation
questioned (e.g., M10).
• To help them understand the dynamics of conflict escalation, the participants reflect on what triggers escalations
7.Methods of conflict management
for them.
Participants discuss selected methods such as conflict
• Participants learn the nine steps in conflict escalation
with the aid of illustrations. Different role assignments
analysis (M11), trading perspectives (M12) and the tetralemma (M13).
become explicit and opportunities for intervention are
8.Final round/evaluation
4.Escalation – de-escalation (M6)
• Behaviours that contribute to escalation or de-escalation are systematically investigated.
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1.All about conflict (M1)
The statements are copied on strips of paper and distrib-
The statements from M1 are commented on and completed
uted to different tables or wallboards. The participants pro-
by the participants, then introduced and discussed by the
ceed from one table to another to enter their comments.
Variation: The statements are distributed as a handout to
be worked with individually.
2.What characterises conflicts?
The diagram (M2 below) is projected on the wall or copied
“Dots“ (M2)
to a flip chart. Every participant receives four dots. The
The participants use coloured dot stickers to show how they
challenge for the participants is that the task requires dif-
rate the individual elements of conflict on a continuum.
ferentiation: What kind of conflict do the statements apply to? What stage of conflict is intended? Variation: The
statements (“open,” “hidden”) are written on index cards
and laid on the floor. The participants select their position
from among the cards.
The conflict curve
Project M4 as a slide on the wall or draw it while explain-
The conflict curve (M3)
ing it.
• What is “conflict”?
The conflict curve shows that there are different phases
• Opportunities and dangers of conflicts.
in which conflicts display different dynamics and demand
different approaches.
• How can one recognise the different conflict stages?
• How do parties to the conflict treat each other during
the various phases?
• What options for action are there in specific phases?
• What do the ways of dealing with conflict look like on the
personal (family) or societal level?
3. Conflict escalation
The participants answer the question “What provokes me?”
• What provokes me?
on red cards and “What calms me down?” on green cards.
Understanding the dynamics of conflict escalation is an
Their statements are presented and discussed.
important access point to discover alternative means of
dealing with conflict. The potential rewards and limited
The nine steps of conflict escalation were developed by the
range of action in conflict situations become clearer.
conflict researcher Friedrich Glasl and can be applied to
• Group work on “culture of conflict” (ca. 30 minutes): Put
interpersonal, societal and international conflicts.
the pictures from M4 in order, formulate a brief text for
each picture and write a headline for the series.
• The stories are presented to the entire group.
Material: Blow up M4 for each small group and cut out the
pictures without their captions.
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• The nine steps in conflict escalation described by Friedrich Glasl are discussed. The following points should be
kept in mind:
• Where are thresholds crossed – the “points of no return”?
• Where would there have been the potential to change
the course of developments?
• What does application of the steps to concrete conflict
processes look like?
4.Escalation – de-escalation (M6)
Working in groups, the statements are assigned to two
The statements are distributed to working groups.
areas: “Contributes to escalation” and “Contributes to de-
• Assign the statements to the categories “contributes to
escalation” and “contributes to de-escalation.”
• Is it possible to rank statements in the two categories by
order of importance?
• What do the individual statements mean in concrete
terms? What insights are associated with them?
Assigning priorities clarifies which attitudes and behaviours are most helpful in conflict situations.
The assignment to rank the statements in order of importance allows the group to exchange and weigh its
As a second step, the statements can also be assigned to
the nine steps in conflict escalation (M4).
Variant: What might a de-escalation narrative in visual
form, using images, look like?
5.Constructive conflict management
The demands of constructive conflict management are self-
• Working in groups, the participants formulate brief re-
formulated and recorded in writing.
sponses to the question “What is helpful in conflicts?”
• Which behaviours are the participants already familiar
Consideration of the basic human needs of the parties to
with? What is their experience with them? Workshop
the conflict plays a decisive role in conflict management.
participants report:
What basic needs have been identified? Participants can
–What reduces willingness to reach a solution?
be shown Maslow’s pyramid of needs as a starting point
–What is experienced as helpful?
for critical discussion.
–What should mediators pay attention to?
• Basic needs in conflict (M7). Groups develop a scheme
of the basic needs of human beings.
M8 introduces central aspects of constructive conflict
• Input: M8: Constructive conflict management.
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6.Conflict management case study
In order to resolve conflicts effectively, a number of ba-
• Selected problem situations (M9) are worked on in small
sic methods are important. They can be introduced and
groups and presented to the entire group, potentially
discussed using concrete case examples. In addition to
through role-playing.
communication skills (I-messages, active listening), they
• An existing conflict can be taken up, analysed and ques-
include the analysis of conflicts and the ability to shift
tioned, with M10 serving as a model (construction of a
perspectives. Putting oneself in the opponent’s shoes is
central to successful conflict management.
Questions and tasks for working on the examples might
• Have you experienced something similar?
• Discuss how the affected people may be feeling.
• What options do the parties to the conflict have?
• What actions should they take, in your opinion?
• What effects and consequences might their respective
actions have?
• What principles should form the basis for their actions?
• Role-play the respective scenes with their various possible outcomes.
7.Selected methods
Using the examples in M9 and M10, the methods of conflict
• Conflict analysis (M11)
analysis (M11), perspective switching (M12) and the tetra-
• Perspective switching (M12)
lemma (M13) can be worked through in concrete terms.
• Tetralemma (M13)
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M1 All About Conflict
1. To me, conflict means
7. My symbol for conflict
2. Conflicts should be resolved without violence because
3. I am afraid/not afraid of conflict because
4. One conflict I feel strongly about is
5. To my mind, the most important conflict in our society is
6. To my mind, the most important conflict in international
relations is
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M2 What Characterises Conflict?
Communication is not open and honest.
Trust is reduced and mistrust increases. Hostilities arise
Information is inadequate or deliberately misleading. Se-
both covertly and in the open. Readiness to assist or advise
cretiveness and dishonesty increase. Threats and pressure
the other side decreases while readiness to exploit, embar-
take the place of open discussion and persuasion.
rass and disparage it increases.
Task orientation
Differences and contrasts in interests, opinions and val-
The task is no longer seen as a shared assignment to be
ues become conspicuous. What separates the two sides
best coped with through division of labour and in which
becomes more easily apparent than what connects them.
everyone contributes to the common good according to his
The other side’s gestures of reconciliation are interpreted
resources and abilities. Everyone tries to go it alone.
as attempts to deceive, its aims as hostile and evil. Both
the opposing side and its behaviour are perceived in a one-
Cf. Morton Deutsch: Konfliktregelung. Munich 1976.
sided, distorted way.
What divides them
What they have in common
Approaches to problem-solving
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M3 The Conflict Curve
•Contradictions are present, but not
•The conflict is visible
•The insight that intervention and
•The problem becomes increasingly
•Differing perspectives become
•The conflict becomes manifest
regulation are necessary
•The positions are reified
•The search for solutions
•Without solutions, the situation
•Coexistence must be reorganised
threatens to become destructive
on a new basis
Possibilities for action:
Possibilities for action:
Possibilities for action:
End and clarify
•Perception of the events
•Find solutions
•Encouraging communication and
•Negotiate a compromise
•Enable continued coexistence
•Recourse to the justice system
•Strengthen self-esteem
•Willingness to engage peacefully
•Renunciation of violence
•Offer possibilities for development
•Desire to end the conflict
in conflict
•Agree on rules
•Separate issues and people
•Acceptance of responsibility
•Learn to cope with stress
•Switch perspective
•Ask for outside help in a timely
Threshold of
Latent conflict
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Manifest conflict
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M4 Culture of Conflict
Cartoons: Burkhard Pfeifroth
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M5 Escalation of conflict
The nine levels in the escalation of conflict
Tips for working
• Enlarge the individual characters onto A4 paper.
1.Concretisation: The points of view become more rigid
• Give each group the following intructions:
and clash with each other. However, there is still a be-
–Place the pictures in a logical order.
lief that conflict can be resolved through discussion. No
–Decide on a title for the story.
intransigent parties or positions yet.
–Write a short text to accompany each picture.
2.Debate: Polarisation in thinking, emotion and desire:
• Compare each group’s results to Friedrich Glasl’s stages
Black-and-white thinking, perspectives from positions
of conflict escalation.
of perceived superiority/inferiority.
3. Deeds: “Talking is useless.” Strategy of confronting each
other with faits accomplis. Loss of empathy, danger of
• Compliment the pictures with photographs taken from
magazines, newspapers of the internet, and allocate
4.Images, Coalitions: The different parties manoeuvre
each other into negative roles and engage in open war-
them to the appropriate stage of conflict escalation.
• Now use the conflict stages to consider a real conflict
(e.g. personal conflict, group conflict, social conflict,
fare. They recruit supporters.
5. Loss of Face: Public and direct attacks which aim at the
international conflict).
opponent’s loss of face.
6.Strategies of Intimidation: Threats and counter-threats.
Escalation of the conflict through an ultimatum.
7.Limited Acts of Destruction: The opponent is no longer
viewed as a human being. Limited acts of destruction
as a suitable response. Value reversal: minor personal
defeats are valued as victories.
8.Fragmentation: The destruction and total disbanding
of the opposing system becomes the goal.
9.Together into the Abyss: Total confrontation without
an escape clause. The opponent must be destroyed at
any price, even that of self-destruction.
Cf. Friedrich Glasl: Konfliktmanagement: Ein Handbuch zur Diagnose und Behandlung von Konflikten für Organisationen und ihre
Berater. 8th edition, Bern 2004, p. 218 f.
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M6 What causes escalation? What causes de-escalation?
Identify the factors contributing to escalation and deescalation.
Mark the circles with a cross (de-escalation)
or a tick (escalation).
During the conflict
In conversation
Consciously greet and say goodbye
Create facts on the ground
Eye contact
Use insulting language
Personal attacks
Ensure personal integrity
Reproachful rather than empathetic communication
Argue and explain
Acknowledge interests as equally justified
Be bitter and humourless
Take only one-sided interests into consideration
Meet the other halfway
Recognise existential needs
Be persuasive
Lack of self-righteousness
No eye contact
Guarantee of safety
Plead your case
Being unable to save face
Show no interest
Offer cooperation
Have no spare time
Struggle for power
Ask follow-up questions
Divide into opposing camps
Rules for fair play
Show how you are affected
Embarrassing others
Be evasive
Searching for compensation
Sense of humour
Leaving no way out
Do not interrupt
Saving face
Try to persuade
Not distinguishing between issues and people
Distinguishing between issues and people
Use potentially offensive words
Violating unwritten rules
Fail to respond to the other
See only one’s own side
No welcomes, no goodbyes
Accusations and reproaches
Closed-off, aloof body language
False claims
Avoid potentially offensive words
Open, attentive body language
Taking time
Take opposing arguments seriously
Select five statements and find examples from your own
experience for the escalating or de-escalating effect of
the actions described.
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M7 Needs in Conflict
Conflicts can be resolved successfully when the human
Groups of needs (according to Galtung)
needs of all parties are acknowledged and taken into con-
• Survival (negation: death)
sideration in finding a solution.
• Well-being (negation: want and misery, illness)
Thus, for example, acknowledging the need to save face is
• Identity/meaning (negation: alienation)
a decisive criterion for obtaining assent to a compromise.
• Freedom (negation: oppression)
It means being able to stand proudly in front of oneself and
Johan Galtung, Kulturelle Gewalt, in Der Bürger im Staat 43,
2/1993, p. 106
others in the future as well as maintain one’s credibility.
The need for security plays a decisive role in many conflicts. Taking needs into consideration means knowing and
acknowledging them in oneself and others.
“Positions” are what we say we want. “Interests” express
what we actually want. “Needs” are the things we unconditionally require to live.
Hierarchy of human needs (as identified by Maslow)
• Self-transcendence
The spiritual need to feel in harmony with the universe
The need to fulfil one’s potential and have meaningful goals
•Aesthetic needs
Needs for orderliness and beauty
•Cognitive needs
Needs for knowledge, understanding, new experiences
Needs for trust and the feeling of being valuable and competent; includes both self-esteem and recognition by others
Needs for belonging, bonds with others, to love and be loved
Needs for security, peace, liberty and freedom from anxiety
•Physiological needs
Needs for food, water, oxygen, rest, sexuality, relaxation
Cf. A. H. Maslow: Psychologie heute, 12/1995, p. 22.
• Are the basic human needs the same in all cultures?
• What role does attention to needs play in intercultural
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M8 Constructive Conflict Management
10 rules for constructive conflict management
1. Renunciation of Violence
8. Empathy
If a conflict threatens to escalate or has already esca-
Through dialogue, or with the help of mediation, it is
lated, the first rule is to renounce any form of physical
possible to understand the point of view of the con-
violence or intimidation of the opponent.
flict partner as well as the pressures and the interests
2.Change of Perspective
constraining them, and to take this into account in
One-sided apportioning of blame hinders enormously
one's own behaviour. Simultaneously, readiness to ac-
any constructive way of dealing with conflict. If the con-
cept one's own share of responsibility in the conflict
flict is viewed as a common problem then new perspectives become possible.
3.Readiness to Talk
9. Commonalities
Common ground rather than differences become in-
Without contact with other parties in the conflict the
creasingly recognised by the conflict partners. A rap-
ways of defusing the explosive potential of the conflict
prochement between the respective convictions and
remain blocked. Talks can enable a definition of the
values now becomes possible.
cause of conflict. Chance: The danger of misunderstand-
10.Balance of Interests and Reconciliation
ing becomes smaller.
A new relationship between the parties in the conflict
4.Readiness for Dialogue
develops. In an ideal case a solution is found, which
Through the process of dialogue, adversaries learn to see
is, at least in part, mutually acceptable to both sides.
themselves as partners in the conflict. This produces a
Reconciliation becomes possible.
willingness to work out a solution together.
Günther Gugel/Uli Jäger: Bilderbox Streitkultur. Tübingen 2009.
Even if a dialogue is not possible, the situation is far
from hopeless. In such situations it is often helpful to
ask a third party to mediate.
Conflict management requires trust. Thus unilateral ac-
tions have to be refrained from and one's own actions
• Make time to have meaningful discussions.
must be totally transparent.
• Confrontation is the key to understanding the matter at
7.Rules of Fair Play
Common rules have to be agreed upon for conflict
• Cooperation is the key to arriving at a sustainable solu-
management. They deal with all aspects of living and
working together. Strict confidence is essential. Trust
• One-sided or violent acts will lead to escalation.
increases if the partners in the conflict are aware of each
• De-escalation is based on finding commonalities.
other acting in a fair manner.
• Are there points that require special attention in the case
of intercultural conflict?
• There are traditional procedures for conflict resolution
in every culture. Can you name one?
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M9 Dealing with Problematic Situations
• Zlatko wants to see a movie. After asking for a ticket, he
realises that he has forgotten (or even lost) his wallet.
Questions and tips
• Have you been in a similar situation?
• Think about how the people in the scenarios must feel.
• Leah invited you to her birthday party tonight. You would
• What options do the parties in the conflict have?
like to go, but you don’t want to see her friend Tim, who
• What should the conflicting parties do, in your opinion?
was mean to you today.
• What effects will each option produce?
• What principles should they base their actions on?
• Maurice likes to get together frequently with the same
• Role-play the scenarios using the different options.
group of friends. But recently Bernard began joining
them. He always brings along a bottle of vodka. Maurice
rides a moped, so he doesn’t want to drink.
• You promised Sarah to make a copy of a pirated, unreleased DVD. Your father has warned you several times
never to make illegal copies of DVDs.
• You reserved a seat on a train. When you get there, someone else is sitting in your spot. He says you can sit somewhere else because there are plenty of seats still free.
• You think your allowance of pocket money is too low.
All your friends get more than you do. Your father says,
“You’ll have to learn to economise.”
• You have repeatedly “forgotten” to do your homework.
The teacher gives you a letter to your parents. You are
supposed to return it with their countersignature.
• Hannah is the new girl in your class. One clique is treating
her very badly. No one has told her about the class party
tomorrow night.
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M10 Building a Mosque
Mr. Smith lives with his family in a quiet residential neighbourhood in a large city. There is a large vacant lot on
their street. The local Islamic community has applied to
the city for permission to build a large new mosque with
a minaret because their current mosque is too small. Mr.
Smith’s neighbours think it’s a terrible idea. They are afraid
that the mosque will increase car traffic and attract Muslim
residents. They say there are plenty of large vacant lots
left in industrial parks. Having founded a citizens’ initiative against the new mosque, they ask Mr. Smith to sign a
petition and take an active part in the initiative. Mr. Smith
values his good relations with his neighbours. He has nothing against Muslims and feels that religious freedom and
tolerance are important values. But a quiet neighbourhood also means a lot to him. Should Mr. Smith join the
Approval for the construction of mosques
Negative attitude toward Muslims
(“rather negative” or “very negative”)
73.5 %
33.5 %
67.1 %
35.6 %
65.6 %
36.7 %
55.4 %
Former West Germany
28.4 %
57.7 %
Former East Germany
19.5 %
62.2 %
Universität Münster, Excellence Cluster “Religion und Politik.”
Wahrnehmung und Akzeptanz religiöser Vielfalt. Codebuch.
Münster 2010.
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M11 Conflict Analysis
Matter at hand – What is the conflict about?
• What is the core of the conflict?
• What has been done so far to find solutions?
• Is it a structural conflict? A conflict about values or facts,
• Is there agreement about steps toward potential
conflicting interests or relationships?
• On what level is the conflict situated (individual, interpersonal, intrasocietal, international)?
• What is hindering a solution?
• What do the parties to the conflict stand to lose if the
conflict ceases to exist?
Interest analysis
• What do the parties to the conflict stand to gain if the
• What positions, interests and needs become apparent?
conflict ceases to exist?
• Who might benefit from which outcome?
• Who might be interested in the course of the conflict?
• Who might be affected by the conflict or its outcome?
• Whose authority might help resolve the conflict?
• Whose support could be decisive?
Parties to the conflict
• Who are the people directly involved in the conflict?
• Are they equally strong (symmetrical conflict) or is there
an imbalance of power (asymmetrical conflict)?
• How do the parties to the conflict regard the other side?
• What support can they rely on?
How is the conflict carried out?
• Is the conflict hot or cold?
• What means are being used?
• How far has escalation progressed, if applicable?
• What might cause further escalation?
• Has violence already come into play? If so, what were the
History of the conflict
• When and how did the conflict arise?
• What phases has the conflict gone through?
• Has the matter at hand changed, or is it the same as it
was at the beginning?
• How do the two sides narrate and interpret the history
of the conflict?
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M12 Shifting Perspectives
“Circular questioning” as a form of perspective switching
Examples of circular questions
means asking a person his views about a third party in the
• If I asked the other partner in the conflict (your mother,
third party’s presence. If the third party is not available, a
neighbour, grandmother, uncle, etc.), how would he or
she describe the situation?
hypothetical third party can be introduced.
This method enables a variety of fresh perspectives on a
• What does the conflict look like from the perspective of
problem. How does a friend see the problem? How do family
members – brother, sister, mother or father – see it?
your teacher?
• If one of your parents were here, what would he or she
What is important is not how the third party responds, but
the simple presence of an alternative perspective. Peo-
• If I were watching secretly, what would I see?
ple’s statements are put into perspective by alternative
interpretations. That can be decisive for further progress.
Questions about differences
Surprisingly, people’s suppositions about the views of their
• Who is your closest ally in this conflict?
family members often prove to be correct.
• Who is your next closest ally (etc.)?
Through the circular questioning technique, usual patterns
• How the conflict look from the perspective of …?
of thought are disrupted. A process of searching begins:
• Would he or she really see it that way, or differently?
“How did that happen? I never thought of it that way! What
• Who suffers most in this conflict?
does my girlfriend think? Why does she think that way? Why
• Who is next in line in terms of suffering?
doesn’t she agree with me?”
• Which conflict partner will be the first to give in?
The questioning technique gives both the questioner and
the person questioned new information and insights.
Cf. Thomas Weiss/Gabriele Haertel-Weiss: Familientherapie ohne
Familie. Kurztherapie mit Einzelpatienten. München/Zürich 1991,
p. 106 ff.
Hypothetical questions
• If you could end the conflict by magic, what would you
do next?
• If the conflict stayed the same for weeks or months, what
impact would that have?
• What would happen if the conflict got much worse?
Embedding desirable alternatives in questions
• If you were to take a more active role in the conflict and
advocate your interests more strongly, who would be affected most?
• How would that person react?
• Would you give up, or do more?
Cf. Thomas Weiss/Gabriele Haertel-Weiss: Familientherapie ohne
Familie. Kurztherapie mit Einzelpatienten. München/Zürich 1991,
p. 106 ff.
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M13 The Tetralemma
The “tetralemma” is based on the traditional logic of India.
It serves to clarify how processes work by using a fourcornered scheme to represent four positions or standpoints
regarding conflicts and issues:
• The “one” is the solution that a given party is striving
• The “other” stands in a contrary position to the one,
but denotes an alternative rather than a negation or
• “Both” means a novel perspective (“metaposition”)
that allows for multiple meanings such as “a little bit
of each” or “sometimes one and sometimes the other.”
It often serves to reveal that the one and the other do
not actually represent conflicting standpoints, and that
a synthesis of the two standpoints is possible.
• “Neither” diverts attention to the context, opening the
search for an entirely new interpretation.
• The “new”, the fifth position, negates the entire tetralemma, and can be described as “None of the above – not
even this,” meaning that the reflections that led to it fail
Focus to be clarified:
to incorporate all the existing aspects. Like the others,
What question or problem should be answered?
this position is inconclusive.
Cf. Matthias Vargha von Kibed/Ina Sparrer: Ganz im Gegenteil.
Tetralemmaarbeit und andere Grundformen systemischer Strukturaufstellung. Heidelberg 2003.
The one
The other
The new
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3. Media and Violence
3.1 Media as Environment
Children and youth today grow up in an environment in which media are ubiquitous.
Increasingly, their confrontation with reality and their appropriation of the world
around them takes place via experiences that have already been funnelled through
the mass media. Media’s contributions to everyday life, opinions and knowledge are
omnipresent and will only be intensified in the coming years with the further development of information and communication technologies. Educators and educational
institutions can no longer afford to ignore such developments.
Children and teenagers today can boast of substantial media exposure and experience at a young age, and their “media competence” when it comes to operating and
troubleshooting their equipment is relatively high. When asked to take a critical look
at the same media, their skills are less impressive. On closer observation, there are
significant variations in the scope, frequency and nature of media use among young
people of differing social and educational backgrounds.
Media have been part of child and youth subcultures for a long time and can be seen
as providing ingress to them for non-members (that is, adults such as educators)
and members-in-waiting (younger children). They express the participants’ sense
of what it means to be alive while at the same time they enable a degree of social
participation. Children and youth contribute themes from their own lives, and the
media serve as channels of communication and forums for self-representation and
self-dramatisation as well as resources for perceiving others.
Children and youth use electronic media more as a matter of course and with fewer
inhibitions than do adults. They often communicate their knowledge to adults and are
turned to as a resource when adults encounter difficulties. Interactive, user-generated
“Web 2.0” platforms are used by children and youth with particular intensity.
While mass media were widely viewed 30 years ago as a silent partner in the raising
of children, they are now seen as a central locus of socialisation and as conveying
important experiences and knowledge. A majority of youngsters in industrialised
countries gain their schematic knowledge of sexuality from the internet. Friendships
and love affairs (and not only among young people!) are initiated and terminated
online via chat, e-mail, and discussion forums. It should not be forgotten that in
today’s economic reality nearly all professions deal in one way or another with computer technology, internet-based information systems and the exchange of digitised
data, and that familiarity with the standard office programmes and internet browsers
is considered indispensable for job applicants.
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3.2 Violence in the Media
In connection with media use by children and youth, no topic is discussed more heatedly and controversially than depictions of violence, the habit of consuming them
and its potential consequences.
What is regarded as violence in the media depends on the conception of violence
being used, that is, whether violence is defined narrowly or broadly. As a rule, the
phrase “violence in the media” refers to depictions of physical violence such as kicking, stabbing or shooting. It is seldom used to denote the oppressive atmosphere
under a totalitarian regime that rules by the threat of violence, or even a death by
poisoning. That is a significant flaw in many accounts of violence in the media: They
proceed from a one-dimensional, rudimentary concept of violence. Various authors
have therefore suggested that a concept of violence be developed specifically for
application to the media (cf. Grimm 2005, p. 64).
Violence in the media is, of course, not limited to the fictional realms of movies and
computer games. Important sources of media violence are news programmes and
documentaries about violent conflicts. News from the front, war movies, and warthemed computer games are often seen as operating independently of each other.
But despite the fundamental differences in the role played by the viewer or gamer
and the disparity as regards the question of reality vs. fiction, there are a series of
commonalities that seem to apply generally to video-based media. They include a
stubborn emphasis on polarised friend/enemy dualism and a mode of presentation of
war and violence that leaves its aim unmistakable: to keep as many viewers or gamers
facing the screen for as long as possible – that is, to “shackle” viewers to the product
(cf. Büttner, Kladzinski 2005).
When fictional and real contents and presentational forms meld together and are all
subject to the rules of dramatisation and self-censorship, that clearly has an effect
on the implicit philosophies of life that media convey as well as the informational
content of news programming.
Violence is thus found in both factual and fictional media contents in all its variants
and representational forms. Over time, portrayals of violence have developed their
own aesthetic. The total “amount” of violence varies from broadcaster to broadcaster,
with state-supported television usually showing less violence than private broadcasters. However, the point here is not to record the quantitative dimension by tallying
the murders and assaults that children and young people see while they are growing
up (around 500 are shown on German TV each week, by one count), as important as
that may be, but to explore the styles in which violence is conveyed, the forms in
which it is presented, and the messages tacitly communicated by those forms – that
Media-specific concept of violence
The term “violence” is usually used
only to denote intentional actions
that lead to injuries and harm. As
Grimm and other authors point out,
through presentation in the media,
occurrences that are unintentional
but through which people come to
harm can also induce anxiety. If
the pain and suffering of victims
were shown, for example after a
serious accident, the event would
very likely be perceived as violent,
above all if it were presented in an
unmistakable and drastic manner
that allows identification with
the victims. They conclude that
a concept of violence limited to
intentional violence alone does not
do justice to televised representations of violence whether in news
programmes, action movies or
television news magazines. They
therefore suggest the following conception of violence as
appropriate to media violence:
“Violence is the physical, mental
or material harming of object(s)
through subject(s), forces of nature
or accidents. Violence can be intentional or unintentional. Intentional
violence consists of three elements:
credible threats, the act of violence
itself and its harmful consequences. Unintentional violence consists
of two elements: the event and its
harmful consequences.”
Petra Grimm/Katja Kirste/Jutta
Weiß: Gewalt zwischen Fakten und
Fiktionen. Berlin 2005, p. 64.
This conception of violence, however, does not take into account the
establishment of racist philosophies of life or the legitimising of
human rights violations or unjust
conditions – that is, practices that
the peace studies expert Johan
Galtung calls “structural violence”
and “cultural violence.”
is, the qualitative aspect.
Is violence presented as something necessary, legitimate and unavoidable? Where
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conflicts arise, are other modes of action offered as alternatives? Is the full range of
the effects of violence shown? Or on a more basic level: Why are media representations of violence so widespread in the first place?
3.3. The Influence of Violence in Media
Whether and to what extent media representations of violence influence real-world
violent behaviour is hotly debated. Christian Pfeiffer of the Criminological Research
Institute of Lower Saxony sees a direct connection between use of violent media
and willingness to commit violent acts: “The willingness to commit violent acts is
especially strongly reinforced by the frequent consumption of action films and computer games that portray excesses of violence” (2006, p. 47). Michael Kunczik’s
survey of research findings on media and violence (2005) sums up, “Current findings
ultimately confirm the longstanding view that some forms of media violence can,
for some individuals under some conditions, bring about negative consequences …
Determining the precise interaction of risk factors, however, will require additional
research, as will identification of the elements that do in fact have effects and the
development of educational strategies with the potential to raise media competence
among various audiences.”
It is popular to blame media – television in particular but also video and computer
games – for increasing levels of violence in society. The journal tv diskurs remarked:
“Such positions clearly agree with the subjective view of many people, which … does
not necessarily have anything to do with reality.”
What is known about the interaction between media use and acts of violence? Are
media a scapegoat that is being held responsible for broader failures and undesirable societal developments, or have the effects of media violence on the contrary
been underestimated?
Findings of research into media violence
There are at this point such a large number of studies investigating the connection
between representations of violence and real-world acts of violence that a survey is
hardly feasible. The evidence has shown, however, that men and boys spend much
more time playing electronic games than women and girls and display a stronger
preference for violent contents. Overall, boys and girls who exhibit strong preferences
for exciting situations and uncertainty (“sensation seekers”) play violent games more
frequently than other young people (Krahé, Möller, Berger 2006, p. 6).
Michael Kunczik and Astrid Zipgel carried out a meta-study that provides a survey of
theoretical conceptions as well as related research findings to date (cf. Kunczik, Zipfel
2005). The literature they studied suggested the following main points:
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• Media violence should not be presumed harmless.
• Simple relations of cause and effect have not been demonstrated empirically, even
though they would meet a strong demand for unambiguous answers to the question
of the dangers posed by media violence.
• Media violence is only one of a complex bundle of factors that contribute to the
emergence of violent behaviour. It should be assumed that not all media contents
have the same effects, and that not every media recipient is equally vulnerable to
the danger posed by media violence.
According to research findings to date, it can be assumed that the effects of media
violence on aggressive behaviour are most likely to be found among younger males
who are frequent consumers of media violence and who:
• grow up in households with high levels of consumption of TV and TV violence;
• experience substantial amounts of real-world violence in their immediate social
environments (family, school, peer group), so that violence appears to them to be
a “normal” problem-solving mechanism;
• have violent personalities to begin with.
Representation of violence
Negative impacts are found above all for media content in which violence:
• is shown in a realistic manner and/or in a humorous context;
• is provided with a justification;
• originates with protagonists who are attractive or with whom viewers may identify;
• achieves its aims and is rewarded, or is at least not punished;
• does not leave marks on the victim (“clean violence”).
Differences among viewers, their immediate social surroundings and how violence
is portrayed are additional factors that come into play when media representations
of violence produce their effects. The factors can be seen as mutually reinforcing
one another.
Violent media contents are particularly alluring to children who have witnessed
violence or been directly affected by it in real life. Media violence is “assumed on
the basis of their experience of reality to be ‘normal’ and appropriate” (cf. Kunczik,
Zipfel 2006, p. 11, 162).
An additional level on which media violence shows effects is in the danger that viewers
will come away traumatised. Violent scenes pose such an emotional challenge to children and young people that they may be unable to work through their impressions.
It is important to note that many men and women perceive media representations
of violence differently. Women identify more readily with female figures, who are
often depicted as victims of violence. Men distance themselves from the victims,
identifying with the largely male perpetrators. When viewing media violence, women
are more likely to develop anxiety, while men tend to develop aggression (Hermann
2004, p. 8).
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3.4 How Much Media Violence Should
Be Tolerated?
The question of which types of portrayals of violence are appropriate or should be
permitted should not be debated only in terms of their effects on behaviour. It seems
necessary to take the standpoint of media ethics into consideration as well. The
ethical values in play here are human dignity and respect for central cultural and
universal values, which are often seen as being in competition with civil rights such
as freedom of the press and the arts.
Since these values in their application are of course not limited to media, the discussion must be embedded in a discourse on violence that engages society at large on
the subject of what forms of violence can be accepted or tolerated and what forms
of violence should be taboo.
Discussions of media violence often centre on its possible effects on real-world acts
of aggression. That approach is, however, too narrow. Broader effects, such as the
influence of media violence on people’s understanding of how the world works and
their expectations of life, and its subliminal communication of specific norms and
values such as prejudices and negative stereotypes, should be given a more central
place in the discourse.
The discussion of the use of force cannot be limited to its possible portrayal in the media, as is shown by current debates on the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,”
the legitimacy of “humanitarian intervention” and even the rights of embryos and
assisted suicide, to name some extreme examples.
But it is not only pictures and video that convey violence. Language with violent content and discriminatory language are surprisingly common in mass media, whether
on talk shows or sports broadcasts, but they are hardly perceived as such anymore
and appear to be taken for granted.
The question of how much and what kind of violence can be tolerated in the media is
closely linked to the way in which a society deals with the phenomenon of violence
as a whole.
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3.5 Potential Risks of Internet Use
The risks associated with internet use are many and varied and cannot be reduced
to the effects of portrayals of violence. With regard to the discussion in the public
sphere, Kunczik and Zipfel identify the following potential risk factors (2005, p. 241
ff.; 2010):
• Depictions of violence
Violent footage of all kinds can be found online. It includes particularly cruel and
graphic portrayals of violence such as excerpts from horror movies and violent
pornography. In some cases, the internet provides images of real events that were
not broadcast on TV nor deemed suitable for commercial print media. A specific
subset of material comprises acts of violence that were committed solely for the
purpose of being filmed and placed online.
• Online commission of acts of violence
In the framework of online role-playing games and the like, players can commit
acts of virtual violence that, though fictional, are sometimes quite realistic. Acts
of genuine psychological violence (“cyber-bullying”) including insults, slander
or the posting of embarrassing images of others without their consent are easy to
commit online.
• Acquiring media with violent contents
Through the internet, children and youth can acquire violent media – e.g., films and
computer games – that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. Violent computer
games are frequently available for anonymous download free of charge.
• Young victims of violence
Nearly 20 percent of youth report that false or insulting claims about them have
been posted on the internet (JIM Study, 2008). Chat rooms aimed at children and
youth, where they believe they are safe among similar and like-minded people,
are consciously sought out by paedophiles. They may sexually harass children
and youth online or use the internet to meet children and youth with the aim of a
real-world encounter.
• Calls for violence
Racist, right-wing and terrorist groups and movements use the internet as a platform to publish their ideologies as well as targeted appeals for violence.
• Instructions for carrying out violent acts
The internet contains an abundance of positive depictions of dangerous conditions
such as anorexia nervosa (“pro-ana”) and self-inflicted harm (“cutting”). But of
course instructions on how to harm others – up to and including the construction
of bombs – are also widely available.
• Enabling of sexual assaults
It is well known that chat rooms are used by sexual and other predators to get to
know potential victims and lay the foundations for real-world contact.
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• Right-wing contents
The internet includes well over 1,000 sites that could be characterised as rightwing. Their hallmarks are racially motivated hatred, xenophobic statements, acceptance of violence as a means to an end, demands for authoritarian leadership,
holocaust denial, etc.
• Pornographic contents
Internet pornography is accessible to children and youth in all its endless variety
and is also used by them.
• Addiction potential
Significant addiction potential is ascribed to internet media and online games.
The child psychologist Wolfgang Bergmann and the brain researcher Gerald Hüther
(2007, p. 130ff.), however, point out that what makes children addicted is not
the computer itself but the willing abdication of spontaneity in an environment
designed for perfect functioning.
• Lack of protection for private data, surveillance, data storage
Internet services and users alike take a careless approach to their own and others’
privacy. Companies and the state collect and store private data. Surveillance cameras and remote searches generate data that is stored indefinitely.
• Media wars
The logistics of today’s wars would be unthinkable without the new information
and communication technologies. International terrorism is a phenomenon that
profits to an unknown extent from the freedom of online media and the possibility
of networking globally via the internet. In addition, the internet itself has become
a battlefield for cyber-war or information warfare.
Cyber-bullying, happy slapping
The German youth protection site sees “cyber-mobbing” as one
of the most significant issues for online social networks and chat forums. The forms
that bullying takes range from insulting comments to the establishment of online
hate groups. The lack of privacy protections (e.g., in online sweepstakes that request
detailed personal information) also poses a major problem. Cyber-mobbing, bullying
or stalking is generally defined as the use of new modes of communication such
as SMS, e-mail or instant messenger to persecute others. The victims are harmed
through public embarrassment, harassment or the dissemination of defamatory
rumours and information.
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3.6 Mediated and Real-World Violence
The relationship between media violence and real-world violence can be defined
along a number of dimensions.
• Media violence as staged violence
Even when violence appears as part of the news or a documentary, it is subject to
the principles of dramatic mise-en-scène (montage, commentary, film music, etc.).
Media reality should not be conflated with the real world – despite the existence
of formats calling themselves “reality TV.” Unfortunately, many children and youth
(but also many adults) transpose the form and frequency of media depictions of
violence to their real-life expectations. The media represent 50 percent of all crimes
as violent. In reality, violence plays a part in only 0.1 percent of all crimes.
• Melding of media and real-world depictions of violence
Particularly problematic is the blending of different realities and forms of presentation, for example in the case of televised war. The images and video that are
shown in news programming, for example, the view through a bombsight and the
impact of a bomb or guided projectile, are familiar from video and computer games.
Even critical and well-informed viewers are unable to judge whether the images
are “authentic” or computer-generated.
• Media as an instrument for carrying out violence
Media are utilised here as instruments for carrying out virtual (in the game context)
or real-world (bullying) violence.
• Media violence as distraction from real-world violence
The public fixation on media violence should not be allowed to distract from the
possible inadequacy of and the necessity of making improvements to current efforts
to reduce real-world violence and its actual causes such as poverty, unemployment
and hopelessness about the future. Discussions of violence should not be limited
to media violence. Children and youth are not only confronted with media violence, but also to a significant extent with real-world violence, whether they are
its victims, perpetrators or passive observers. In their families, schools and public
places, children are regularly subjected to abuse and disrespect.
• Media violence as reinforcement of real-world violence
Media can, depending on their ways of showing violence, contribute to heating up
a conflict or offer models for violent conflict resolution. Children and youth who
have experienced violence themselves often display a tendency to consume media
violence with greater frequency and intensity. The media world serves to bolster
and confirm their own experiences. An international study on violence carried
out by UNESCO (Pinheiro 2006) indicated that violence against children is still
widespread, and more specifically that:
– corporal punishment is still practised in schools worldwide and frequently is
not prohibited by local law. In a poll conducted recently by Forsa, 24 percent of
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Germans – nearly one in four – said they had been struck occasionally or fre quently by their parents;
– children, particularly girls, are exploited, tortured, sexually abused and even
killed by the sex industry in the service of prostitution or pornography;
– children exploited through child labour are often exposed to violence and exist
in an environment ruled by threats and compulsion;
– children are especially vulnerable in armed conflicts and are regularly conscrip ted as child soldiers.
In western Europe as well, children and youth should not be viewed primarily in terms
of their potential culpability as perpetrators of media-inspired violence. First and
foremost, they are to a substantial degree the chief victims of real-world violence.
Many young people find themselves in a vicious circle in which past traumatic experiences of victimisation lead to their own commission of violent acts.
3.7 Competence in Using Media
The media researcher Dieter Baake (1998, p. 26f.) differentiates four dimensions of
media competence:
• Media studies: The informative dimension of media studies includes acquaintanceship with classic genres (that is, what is a “war movie,” how do journalists work, how
are news stories generated, etc.). Its practical, instrumental and job-qualifying
dimension refers in contrast to the capacity to use the latest equipment, e.g.,
successful navigation in complex computer games, editing of film clips on the
desktop, etc.
• Media use: The practical application of media competence means using programmes independently, moving interactively through the internet and competence in
the use of applications such as online banking.
• Media design: This area of competence entails the ability to make innovative contributions to continued change or development in the media system and to explore
new areas of application for media in a creative way.
• Media criticism: Media critical skills include being able to analyse media representations of problematic societal processes. Ideally, the knowledge gained through
critical analysis can also be applied to oneself and one’s own actions.
Media educational approaches should be sure to expose learners to all four dimensions. It should be kept in mind that for many young people, dealing with the technical aspects of new media is not considered a challenge, and they readily share tips
and tricks. But the realms of critical discussion, analysis and evaluation, whether
of content, form or possible effects, are by and large not the subject of conscious
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reflection. They require substantial focused attention from educators. It is important
to keep in mind that children and youth have a very active approach to media. They are
not helpless puppets in the hands of content providers. Instead, they choose media
products selectively and assign its contents meanings of their own (Rogge 2010).
Learning with media means creating media
Young people resist being taught. They prefer to learn on their own. Learning should
thus be understood as a self-organised, self-determined process that needs to be
encouraged and accompanied. Knowledge should not be treated as something that
can be transferred directly, but instead as skills that develop in encounters with
relevant practical problems.
Human beings learn with all their senses, not only with the intellect. Seeing, hearing, reading, smelling, talking, touching, and doing are different ways of approaching and confronting the world that vary from person to person, and each human
being learns differently and has a unique learning history and learning strategies.
Accordingly, instructional offerings should reflect diverse and differentiated ways
of learning. Opportunities should go beyond the verbal realm, providing for imageoriented and experiential approaches and hands-on activities (cf. Arnold, Siebert
1995, p. 127ff.).
With that in mind, educators working with media should offer a variety of access
points to the world of media and complement it with other areas of experience.
Parents, youth workers and educators
• Use media consciously – limit media consumption
In their use of media, as in everything else, adults serve as models to be imitated.
Only when parents and educators are consciously aware of their own media consumption, keep it limited and offer detailed justifications can children and youth
learn to develop their own media-consumption standards for everyday life.
• Learn to understand the media worlds of young people
Understanding the meaning and importance of media for children and young people is a vital prerequisite to entering into a conversation with them about media.
That means spending time with them while they consume media (for example,
watching television programmes together and talking about them), drawing attention to problematic issues as they arise (how to protect people’s privacy and
surf and chat safely), actively seeking information about new applications and
providing opportunities for young people to use media in a productive, creative
way (for example, by making their own videos). Parents, educators and youth
workers can get to know and understand young people’s gaming universes simply
by taking an open-minded attitude toward the fascination the games exert (at LAN
parties designed for parental participation, for example) and formulating their
own questions.
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• Dealing with media violence
Any discussion of violence in the media should begin with an inquiry into the
past experiences and backgrounds of the children and youth involved, with the
aim of heightening their awareness of how and why they use media. Youth should
be given the opportunity to develop creative competencies via homemade media
productions. An important point of departure is the strange fascination exercised
over many children and youth (and not only them!) by representations of war and
violence, a preference that media producers consciously exploit.
Ideally, children and youth should be motivated to go beyond their existing interest in
the topic and develop additional curiosity about interconnections and backgrounds,
exploring them in an inquisitive mood via their own productions. To achieve that,
it is imperative:
• that they obtain the intellectual tools necessary for analysis (cognitive dimension
of learning);
• that they perceive, and can reflect on, the effects that media and their narrative
modes and ways of conveying information have through and on themselves and
others (social dimension of learning);
• that the principles of media montage and design be transparent to them so that
they can be consciously modified for use in their own media productions (active
dimension of learning).
Analysis should address more than simply the stylistic specificities of a film or game.
The specific interests that guided its producers – and their possible acquiescence in
the interests of policymakers and the military – should be perceived and interpreted
as well. Ideally, against this background, social and policy strategies can be developed to counteract the desensitising effects of exposure to depictions of violence.
In addition to the encounter on the cognitive level, action-oriented approaches that
focus on the changing, reformatting and adaptation of media are also important.
Mastery of design techniques (in the sense of post-production alterations and redesign rather than planning from the ground up) is important in its own right.
Particular attention should be paid to the use of media in carrying out acts of violence
(that is, the phenomena of cyber-bullying and happy slapping). It is, of course, important to know and observe applicable regulations regarding appropriate ages for
exposure to certain kinds of images. Ultimately the issue will always revolve around
the individual’s relationship to violence, his or her violent fantasies and willingness to
engage in violence, condoning of or support for violence and the associated demand
that violence be reduced in all areas of life, not only in the media, and that a culture
of nonviolent conflict resolution be established.
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3.8 Approaches for Educators
Four “learning areas” were selected for educators to focus on:
• Analysing and understanding: In these approaches, the focus is on possibilities
for calling design principles and the formats of media into question. The materials
offer abundant inspiration, as do the image and text cards and the contents of the
accompanying CD-ROM.
That also means reflecting actively on one’s own media behaviour. It can be interesting for all participants to keep media journals, observing and documenting
their media usage or, conversely, their experience of setting limits to media usage
or eliminating it in whole or in part (television, computer games) for a set period
of time (one to four weeks). Of course, other leisure activities must be available.
• Experimenting and producing: These approaches offer opportunities for creative
design work that make common media formats more familiar and transparent.
Addressing the topic of computer games and dealing with this media experience
constructively is a first step for both youth work and formal instruction to help
young people recognise how such games are styled and structured. The question
of whether games that revolve around killing people should be prohibited should
be dealt with in the concrete context of the participating young people’s personal
experience of such games. A central role should be assigned, beyond the issue of
possible effects, to the differentiation between fiction and reality (M3-5). Here
checklists can help enable, for example, an initial approach to the question of
what constitutes computer addiction and whether one is suffering from it.
• Influencing and manipulating: Experimenting with the effects of manipulative
interventions are in the focus of these didactic approaches. Participants alter or
redesign images, video clips or audio tracks to aid in understanding how changes
in messages and effects can be produced.
• Knowing and evaluating: These approaches focus on exploring interconnections
and discussing value-based standards.
Producing one’s own media
One focal point of active work with media should be repeated opportunities to take
an active role in production. That can occur through recording and editing musical
tracks as well as through the production of (fiction or nonfiction) video clips or the
alteration and alienation of existing media products (images, audio, video). Here it
becomes possible to apply mechanisms of manipulation and experience their effects.
Staging and filming a horror movie on one’s own helps enable productive dealing with
the medium of film as well as deeper insights into its formats and designs.
High-quality media
There are countless excellent media available (films, games, computer programmes,
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web sites) for children and youth. The term “Serious Games” refers to intellectually
challenging, nonviolent and sometimes explicitly educational games. It is important
that young people develop the tools to establish their own “quality criteria” for the
various media (films, television, computer games, etc.). An important component is
to be familiar with and be able to recognise the standard modes of representation of
men and women, enemies and heroes, etc. That only becomes possible when a variety
of “good” media is made available.
3.9 Workshop Overview
The following agenda serves as an example of how the materials might be implemented. Other course designs are of
course possible. Individual sections can be contracted or
expanded depending on how much time is available (an
hour, a day, several days).
1.My media and I
• A personal media log is created with the aid of M1.
An encounter with media and violence can take place not
only in the context of workshops and programmes of formal
2.Print advertising and violence
instruction but also through more long-term projects. Such
• Participants respond freely and openly to print
projects can take a diversity of forms, for example:
• Four weeks without: The participants give up use of a cer-
• Advertisements are analysed using specific criteria
tain medium (for example, television) or even eliminate
• Advertisements are redesigned.
all private use of mass media for four weeks.
• LAN party for adults: Youngsters organise a LAN party
for their parents and teachers to show them what inter-
3.Video clips: commercials
ests them about networked games and how they are put
• Commercial advertising film clips are shown and analysed (M3).
• Film weeks: In cooperation with a local cinema, a film
series with outstanding works is organised.
4.Competent dealing with media
• Making movies: Working as a group, a short film is made
• Central questions of media utilisation and effects are
and produced in a specific genre (horror, advertising).
The film is shown at a public event.
5.Learning circle on violence in media
• As they move through a learning circle with five stations, participants work through the topics of (1) war
and antiwar movies, (2) heroes, (3) violent games, (4)
men and women in the media, and (5) advertising with
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1.My media and I
With the aid of M1, participants record their personal media
The participants receive the following assignments be-
use and present it to the group. Before beginning, partici-
fore the workshop. Their responses are brought along in
pants estimate their own media use.
• Prepare a list that is as complete as possible of all the
media equipment you own (television, cell phone, etc.)
• Estimate how much time you spend with each medium
• For one week, record which media you use and for how
long, both at work or school and at home. You can use
the forms included in M1.
2.Print advertising and violence
• All participants select an image card (or receive one from
Using image cards that show advertisements in different
the instructor). They report the ideas that occur to them
media, initial access to the topic takes place. The questions
while they look at the image and say which elements
“What attracts me?” “What interests me?” or “What would I
attract or repel them.
rather not look at?” can serve as aids to inquiry.
• Analysing advertising (M2)
With the help of M2, the advertisements are analysed with
Advertisements are analysed on the basis of selected (or
regard to their format. The central questions should be:
self-developed) criteria.
“Why does the advertisement take precisely this form?” and
“What did the people who made it stand to gain?”
• Changing advertising
The texts of various advertisements are deleted so that
The assignment: “Redesign a poster/an advertisement
only visual information with blank spaces for text remains
so that the format and design of the original remain and
(cf. M5-5).
only a few details or text items are altered. If so desired,
The altered advertisements are copied and used as basis
an entirely new poster/advertisement can be designed
materials for work in groups. New texts, advertisements and
to communicate the intended message.”
posters are designed. How does the message change?
3.Video clips: commercials
Selected video clips from the area of commercial advertis-
Do the messages conveyed by the clips change when they
ing are shown and analysed in small groups (M3).
are played without sound? What is the effect of the soundtrack or music when it is heard without the pictures?
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Suzuki Commercial GSX-R1000: Dentist
Toyota car advert 2008: RAV 4
Vodafon advert with chickens
VW Polo advert: Small but tough
West Cigarettes advert: Für ein höfliches Miteinander
German Armed Forces 2010
Austrian Armed Forces 2009
US-Army 2010
4.Dealing with media competently
Questions and answers (M4).
The statements and questions from M4 are transferred to
The participants receive questions and must answer
index cards and distributed to participants. They formulate
them immediately. The other participants assist them in
their responses spontaneously.
Variation: The participants are divided into groups. Each
group receives five question cards that it discusses and answers. The answers are presented to the entire group.
5.Learning circle on violence in media
• Introduction to the topic
Evaluation questions for the entire group:
• Participants work in small groups at five learning
• Violent scenes: How is violence depicted?
• Typology of heroism: What do “heroes” look like and
what character traits do they display?
• Evaluation by the entire group
• Identification opportunities: What psychological needs
are addressed?
• Men and women: What gender-specific characterisations
are performed?
• Friend-enemy schema: What polarising patterns are
• Threshold situations: How are transgressive situations
presented, for example the death of the protagonist or
an enemy?
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M1 Media Log
Internet /computer online (I)
Music CDs (M)
Radio (R)
Computer offline (C)
Cell phone (P)
Newspapers and magazines (N)
Television (TV)
MP3-Player (MP3)
Gaming consoles (G)
Video/DVD (V)
Books (B)
Write down which equipment you used each day and for how long.
8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00 24:00 1:00
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M2 Understanding and Modifying Advertising
Evaluation of print advertisements and posters
• Is it simple?
• Is it memorable?
• Is it understandable?
• It is original?
• What is the message?
• What target audience is being addressed?
• Is the execution of the design persuasive?
• Is it credible?
• Is identification enabled?
• It is convincing?
• Does it improve the advertiser’s image?
• Does it attract attention?
• Who ordered the poster’s creation? Who produced it?
Who hung it up?
• Where can the poster be seen?
• What specific target audiences is it aimed at?
• Are there specific reactions to the poster?
Cf. Gisela Brackert: Plakate beurteilen.
In: Medien praktisch, 1/79, p. 23 ff.
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M3 Trailers for Films and Computer Games
“Trailers” are used to publicise movies and computer games.
They are designed to attract attention and awaken interest
Numerous trailers are available for free viewing online
in the product. They condense the film’s intentions and are
(YouTube, etc.).
thus well suited for comparison of the messages of different
films in abbreviated form.
First impressions
• How does the trailer affect you?
• What else does it remind you of?
• What made a particularly deep impression?
• Does the trailer make you feel interested in the movie/
game? Would you see the movie/buy the game?
• What was shown and not shown?
• How was your interest awakened and suspense created?
• What title would you give the trailer?
More in depth
• Screenshots are printed out from each individual sequence
in the trailer and distributed to working groups.
• The groups are assigned the task of developing their
own stories for the film. The printouts should be brought
into a unique order and a brief text formulated for each
• The results from each breakout session are presented to
the entire group.
• The entire group views the original trailer.
• It is possible not only to compare trailers for different
films, but also to compare film trailers with trailers for
computer games.
• What differences and similarities can be identified between film trailers and game trailers?
• What function do film trailers have? What is the function
of game trailers?
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M4 Your Opinion
1. Computer addiction: You are the mother of an eleven-
9. Horrorfilms: Researchers say the reasons young peo-
year-old boy. He plays computer games every day. You
ple watch horrorfilms include the desire for suspense,
are afraid he may become addicted. What would you
maintenance of social status in the group and over-
regard as symptoms of computer addiction? Where can
coming boredom. How would you describe a horror-
you get reliable information?
film? What horrorfilms can you name? Why do you think
2. Privacy: You are surfing online and decide to register on
young people watch them?
Facebook. In addition to the names of your friends, the
10. Chat rooms: Online chatting is very popular with chil-
site asks for your cell phone number, your three favour-
dren and young people. Many contacts are initiated
ite hobbies and your favourite television programmes.
and maintained via chat. How should one behave in
chat rooms? Name three rules for chat behaviour.
What information do you give them?
3. Photographs: You happen to see a fellow student taking
11. No spare time: Your friend Bill spends most of his
pictures of strangers. Later he alters the photos and
free time in front of the computer. He plays World of
puts them online. Do you take action?
Warcraft and belongs to a highly skilled group that
4. Google: Google Street View has created a detailed in-
earns large numbers of points. He has less and less
teractive online map of your neighbourhood. You look
time to invest in his friendship with you. You are wor-
at it and see that your house is clearly visible, along
ried about him. What do you think is going on with
with your family’s car and its license plate. A citizen’s
initiative is being formed in your town to make Google
him? Can you change the situation?
12. Chat rooms: You are a 15-year-girl. While chatting,
you meet a guy who seems really cool. You think he
delete the information. Do you join it?
5. Data garbage: In many of the junk e-mails you receive,
is an interesting person, and he wants to meet you in
there is a link at the bottom that you can click to un-
person. Whom do you tell about it? How could you go
subscribe. You are not sure whether it is wise to react
about meeting him?
to junk e-mail (“spam”) at all. What do you do?
13. Improving life circumstances: The educational re-
6. Violent games: You have been assigned to write a re-
searcher Stefan Aufenanger once wrote that “if we be-
port on violent video games for school. What would you
lieve violence among children and youth is increasing,
consider a violent game? Have you ever played such a
then we need to improve the conditions under which
game? How do you think violent games affect players?
they live.” What does his statement mean for you in
7. America’s Army: The U.S. army is having trouble recruit-
concrete terms? Do you agree with it?
ing soldiers. It developed a downloadable computer
14. Cyber-mobbing: Happy slapping and cyber-bullying
game, “America’s Army,” that is available online free of
are widespread. How do you define them? Have you
charge. One of its explicit aims is to encourage young
ever been a victim of cyber-mobbing? What can you
do against it?
men to join the army. What do you think of the game?
8. “Good” computer games: You are supposed to put to-
15. Just play-acting: “Violence on TV and computer games
gether a brochure for parents about “good” computer
is fake,” George says. “It has nothing to do with reality.
games. Name three characteristics of “good” games.
I have no violent urges in real life, but violent games
What computer game would you call “good”?
let me work off my aggressions.” What is your opinion
of his claim?
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M5 Learning Circle for Media and Violence
Select photos, justify selection, categorise
War film/
antiwar film
Advertisements with violence. Modifying
Learning stations
Men and women
in media
Violent games
pro und contra
• Presentation of the five learning stations by the five
• Discussion and evaluation
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M5-1 War Movie – Antiwar Movie?
What applies to a war film and what to an antiwar
The statements are assigned to the two categories “war
• The fascination exerted by scenes of violence
film” and “antiwar film.” For each category, five state-
• Opponents are presented as subhuman
ments should be selected that characterise it particularly
• The film activates negative attitudes about other people
or groups
• Depicts warlike situations
• Shows close-ups of violent acts
• Wants to convey information
• Wants to awaken emotions
• The plot involves fighting in the context of war
• War is presented as a test to be passed or failed
• The film is sad and depressing
• The film shows death and suffering
• A (solitary) hero proves his worth in battle
• The film provides information about historical events
• The film has a clear message
• War is presented as brutal and hostile to human life
• Warriors are presented as being above the law
• War is shown as obeying its own unique logic
• The fascination of violence becomes palpable
• Violence is presented as necessary and unavoidable
• The consequences of violence are shown
• People bear the responsibility for their actions
• Conscience counts more than obedience and following
• Life is respected as the highest good
• The reasons for the war are named and called into
• The film is strangely fascinating
• The story follows the destinies of individuals
• What is shown is presented as being authentic
The influence of the subjective
“Because human sensitivites are of such an individual nature, the same film can evoke contrasing feelings in different people. This subjectivity of the viewer decides whether
a film should be appraised as a war or an anit-war film.”
Magdalena Kladzinski
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M5-2 Heroes
The opposite of an enemy is a hero.
What do heroes look like?
Skin colour:
Facial expression:
Body type:
Eye colour:
Think and discuss:
Three kinds of hero types in war films
• How do heroes become heroes?
1. The story with the first type of hero as a main character
• How can men become heroes?
is told from the point of view of the hero, who is on a
• How can women becomes heroines?
mission of extermination. No sacrifice is considered too
• Who decides whether a person becomes a “hero”?
great for him to reach his goal. Enemies are slaughtered
ruthlessly and brutally.
• Are all heroes similar, or are there different types?
• Who is a hero for you? Name a real-world person.
2. For the second type of hero, it is characteristic that he
uses violence only when ordered to do so and in cases
• How does that person differ from movie heroes
where lives are in danger or to save lives.
and heroines?
3. The third group of heroes is made up of figures who go
through a learning process in battle or during wartime.
Killing is not really their thing, but the logic of war – kill
or be killed – nonetheless compels them to commit acts
of violence.
Cf. L. Mikos: Helden zwischen Kampfgetümmel und Selbstzweifel.
Ästhetik oder Gewaltdarstellung in Kriegsfilmen. In: Büttner et
al., Der Krieg in den Medien. Frankfurt 2004, p. 129 ff.
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M5-3 Violent Games, Pro and Contra
Violent games should be outlawed.
I think prohibiting violent games
Even if making them illegal wouldn’t stop certain
makes no sense.
individuals from playing them, it would keep them out
It could never be enforced, because the games can be
of the hands of many young people.
downloaded from the Internet. The prohibition
would have no effect at all.
Own experiences
Inform yourself:
• How would you define a violent game?
• What is problematic about violent games?
• Which ones can you name?
• Look for public statements by researchers and policymakers about violent games.
• Which ones have you played?
• Describe what goes on in one specific game.
• How should the most violent games be dealt with?
• What is the player supposed to achieve?
• How do you feel about the two opinions above?
• What is the attraction of these games for you?
• How do you feel after you finish playing?
How should violent games be dealt with?
It is important to deprive violent video games of their aura
and get them out of the taboo zone that is often what makes
them interesting in the first place. That means that we need
to have a public and open discussion about the contents of
these games and enable young people to develop their own
standards for assessing and dealing with these media offerings. The charm of virtual killing for the individual gamer
can fade only when he finds using the games no longer
acceptable according to his own set of values.
Klaus Hurrelmann in: Frankfurter Rundschau, 26.9.2006, p. 25.
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M5-4 Women and Men in Media
How often are women and men shown in different media
and how are they presented?
• TV programmes aimed at families
• TV murder mysteries
• Computer games
• Infomercials/teleshopping
• Children’s programming
• Talk shows
• Sports programmes
• News broadcasts
• Commercials
• Music videos
What importance do the following qualities have for
women and men in media?
• Physical attractiveness
• Clothing
• Social status
• Career success
• Family
• Aggression and violence
• Intelligence
• Sports abilities
• Youthfulness/age
• Communication and sociability
• Helplessness
• Friendliness
• Willpower
• Having friends
• Contact with children
• Contact with vehicles and weapons
Think and discuss:
• What messages are conveyed nonverbally by men and women appearing in the media?
• How can one recognise those messages?
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M5-5 Adapting Advertisements
“Next time, say it by email.”
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Intercultural Education
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•Ausländerbeauftragte der Bundesregierung:
•Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge:
•Bundesministerium des Innern:
•Culture Counts:
•DGB-Bildungswerk, Bereich Migration und ­Qualifizierung:
•Für ein weltoffenes Deutschland:
•Informationen zur Antirassismusarbeit:
•Informations- und Dokumentationszentrum für Antirassismusarbeit e.V.:
•Integrationsbeauftragte der Bundesregierung:
• Interkultureller Rat:
• Kulturelle Dimensionen:
•Pro Asyl :
•Radio Multikulti:
• Schule ohne Rassismus:
•UN Hochkommissar für Menschenreche:
•Verband für interkulturelle Arbeit:
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Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest (Hrsg.) (2009):
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Children. United Nation Secretary Generals Study. Geneva.
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•Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien:
•Film und Kinotrailer:
•Klick Tipps:
•Medienculture online:
•Medienprojekt Wuppertal:
•Positive Bewertung von guten Computerspielen:
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