The HVGP at the Dialogue Forum “Social Development in Times of Particularization” of the Forschungsinstituts für gesellschaftliche Weiterentwicklung

On November 23 and 24, the NRW Dialogue Forum 2017 of the Forschungsinstituts für gesellschaftliche Weiterentwicklung (FGW) took place. The HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform (HVGP) was represented by Dr. Audrey Podann and Katja Treichel. The theme of the Dialogue Forum was “Social Development in Times of Particularization”. Discussions between organized civil society, politics and science were aimed at creating a better understanding of particularization tendencies and their political and social implications.

In addition to podium discussions on e.g. the topic of right-wing populism online and panels dealing with e.g. Work 4.0 and the development of the urban society, participants also came together in so-called tracks. They could submit entries for these tracks, so that the tracks were designed together with the track managers and the participants. The tracks were given a lot of time, which we consider very beneficial and corresponds with our experience with the e.g. HVGP’S day-long Trialogs. The track format made it possible to achieve a much better and more multi-perspective understanding of the topic than the usual formats such as expert discussions or academic lectures. The diversity of the participants’ background was particularly interesting and followed the transdisciplinary profile of the FGW with participants from politics, administration, foundations, universities, organizations and initiatives.

We participated in the track “Creation of Political Spaces for Social Integration”, which was led by Prof. Joachim Zweynert of the University of Witten / Herdecke, supported by Anemari Karacic, research assistant at the FGW. The content of the track was based on the idea that neoliberalism has led to a steady shrinking of political space in the last three decades – from the macro level to the micro level of social coexistence. A key challenge of political governance today is to present better and at the same time politically attractive alternatives to populist integration activities. Accordingly, the question of the track was: In a time that continues to be strongly influenced by economic constraints and pressure to perform, how can the political space be recaptured as a place of social integration?

The talks in this track dealt with basic insights into particularization and discussed how to prevent disintegration and how to strengthen resonant relationships. In addition to theoretical reflections on Immanuel Kant, Paul Krugman, or Hartmut Rosa, concrete projects and methods for social inclusion were presented, such as the New Neighborhood Moabit, Wandercoaching – a project for networking and activation of student initiatives, work of foundations in communities on education and the Trialogs as a deliberative format for “social integration in pre-state space”.

The following Worldcafé discussed how the approaches and strategies for social integration and resonance proposed in the talks could be consolidated and raised from the micro to the macro level. The HVGP team was responsible for the topic “Sustainability in the Design of Resonance Relations”.

With around 300 participants from many regions of North Rhine-Westphalia and various fields of work, the FGW conference was an exciting example of how society and science can get involved in joint problem-solving. We look forward to the conference reports and hopefully more stimulating meetings in Düsseldorf or Berlin.