Many European cities have seen an increase of polarisation amongst their population during the last two years since the Covid-19 crisis emerged, not at least caused by social isolation and the spread of online conspiracy theories. Polarisation is characterised by sharpened forms of ‘us-and-them’ thinking, hardened fronts and the absence of dialogue between certain groups of society.
Conflicts of interest and tensions between different groups of society constitute the norm in our peaceful, democratic societies. Social or political topics or incidents that are relevant to segments of the local population can be manifold. They might relate to controversies over rising crime rates or the perception of insecurity in a specific neighbourhood, concerns about the location of a planned refugee shelter in another, or correspond to echoes of international conflicts within local communities. Our webconference will address the following questions:
- How can cities prevent those legitimate conflicts from turning into escalating tensions?
- How can hardened fronts between groups that do not allow for dialogue be avoided?
- Which local actors and representatives of civil society need to be involved to mitigate or prevent dynamics of polarisation and rampant ‘us-and-them thinking’?
We will look at mechanisms of conflicts, learn about systemic conflict analysis and share examples of mitigation practises.
The web conference will be held in English. If you would like to participate, please register through the Efus website.