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The European Union and Beyond

Active Citizens in Transformative Urban Settings: Civic Learning Spaces and “Living Together”-Narratives

Civil Society
Political Participation
Tatjana Zimenkova
Technische Universität Dortmund
Tatjana Zimenkova
Technische Universität Dortmund
Kevin Brandt
Technische Universität Dortmund
Katarina Marej
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Gerrit Tiefenthal
Technische Universität Dortmund

The contemporary crises and socio-economic divides within EU and Germany are inevitably connected to crises of civic inclusiveness and phenomena of identity building, as well as to othering processes, framed within the “we-and-the-others” narratives. Research shows, that the limited acceptance of diversity as well as low identification are the cntral phenomena causing disintegration and exclusion in Germany. Heterogeneous urban spaces are strongly facing phenomena of disintegration. The urban area of Dortmund is a well-known disintegration spot in Germany. The paper reports on the first results of the project (ZUNAMI), seeking the instruments to develop the functioning narratives and shared understanding of societal cohesion in a diversified multicultural society of Dortmund, bringing different urban communities, which are not interacting in their everyday practices. The project normatively approaches an inclusive society as a wishful condition, and considers the functioning cohesion narratives as essential for the societal resilience in front of crises. For the time being, civic education in Germany lacks functioning cohesion narratives, which could be transferred into educational practice, as well as knowledge of methods on (re-)construction of such narratives. Using intensive deliberation processes as a research tool and basis, the ZUNAMI-project seeks to identify cohesion narratives, and to apply and monitor them in an urban community, which is challenged by crises and disintegration. Selected groups of citizens are gathered to develop concrete cohesion narratives within group workshops as civic learning spaces. The paper seeks to present the first results of those processes and aims at discussing and improving the mechanisms of deliberative action research in urban communities.
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