Date(s) - 09/05/2018
„Beyond Boundaries“ – European perspectives on youth work as a democratic institution in preventing racism and discrimination. It is not only in the Federal Republic of Germany that it has become more acceptable to express right-wing populist and anti-democratic positions and attitudes. The way they have been normalised represents a European challenge confronting personnel and projects involved in youth work internationally. Against this background the question of professionalism in the field of democratic education in youth work is gaining general significance. It is posed on both a macrosocial and a pan- European level. What specific qualifications do professionals in youth work require in order to confront right-wing populism, racism, sexism and homophobia? Which aspects are encompassed by their professional self-image and what role is played here by the structural conditions for youth work on the ground? And how can strategies and instruments that have proved successful in certain places be transferred successfully to other local contexts? The aim of the event is to provide a forum where those with practical experience of confronting the phenomena described can exchange ideas. It makes sense to take a look at international perspectives of developing theories about right-wing populism, racism and the dynamics of radicalisation and to locate both where they overlap and where there are gaps. At the same time, efforts to raise the potential and professional expertise of youth work on the European level are to be noted. The intended result is joint quality development and the linking of international and local approaches to democratic education and prevention in youth work.
Input 1: The radicalisation paradigm in the international debate In Germany a broad landscape of prevention structures has been established, which is based conceptually to a large extent on approaches to research and practice related to right-wing extremism. On an international level, by contrast, research on radicalisation and “violent extremism” is primarily carried on a cross-phenomenal basis. Both the explanatory approaches and models found here are to a great extent influenced by preoccupation with Islamist terrorism. The presentation discusses where international debates can be usefully combined and where they should be distinguished from one another for the prevention of racism and other forms of hostility. Nils Schuhmacher, political scientist and criminologist, lecturer at the University of Hamburg
Input 2: Together you are less alone: professional youth work and democratic education in Europe Youth work is a protagonist in education for democracy, which pays a decisive role on a national level in the current confrontations with right-wing populism and nationalism. Nevertheless, it must constantly relegitimise itself and defend it expertise against reservations regarding its effects. The presentation identifies possibilities of anchoring professionalism and strategic confrontation of racism and discrimination in youth work and thus consolidating the field of work as an institution of education for democracy. Here it is important to find a common basis that strengthens local and regional structures. Speaker: Marc Boes, Professional Open Youth Work in Europe
After the inputs, there will be an opportunity to exchange experiences and needs in practical work more intensively in workshops. The thematic framework for this is provided by the draft of an international training curriculum. It combines the experience and expertise of seven European partner organisations in the fields of prevention, anti-racism, anti-discrimination and inclusion and on this basis makes recommendations about the content and conditions of training.
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