Project: Mut vor Ort – a model project for gender-reflective prevention work against neo-Nazism
Institution: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Jugendfreizeitstätten (AGJF) Sachsen e.V. (Association of Youth Leisure Centres Saxony)
Duration/funding: 2011-2014. The model project was funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) as part of the programme “Promoting Tolerance – Strengthening Competence”, by the state of Saxony as part of the programme “Open-minded Saxony for Democracy and Tolerance” as well as the Heidehof Foundation.
Field(s) of work: counselling and further building
Gender-specific: exploring the links between gender socialisation and a neo-Nazi orientation, expanding the possibilities for prevention and intervention against xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and child and youth violence by means of gender-reflective work
The topic of gender is often overlooked when working with right-wing extremist oriented and/or at-risk youth. Youth culture behaviour linked to right-wing scene with intergroup conflict and macho masculinity patterns seems to particularly appeal to boys and young men with traditionally masculine gender role orientations who believe that, when necessary, they can use violence to show who is the “man of the house”.
However, women and girls also play a role in neo-fascist contexts and youth scenes open to right-wing sentiments. They take on tasks and find connecting factors either in traditional roles or as an emancipated political woman. These links need to be examined more closely and worked on in-depth, especially in terms of what they can mean for the pedagogical stance and concepts in everyday life.
Taking a gender-reflective stance in youth work makes it possible to eliminate discrimination, foster equality and design individual possible options for action for the adolescents. For the work against neo-Nazism such an approach makes it possible to perceive and deal with the anti-democratic orientation of boys and girls as well as gender-related points of entry and moments of demarcation. Youth work which takes a critical look at accepted disparity and nativeness can counter neo-Nazism in a preventative and sustainable way.
But how can a gender-reflective approach which strives for democratisation be effectively put into practice by youth work professionals and your institution? What is needed locally? What does the link between ideas of gender and a neo-Nazi orientation mean for the work?
How can a gender-reflective perspective on neo-Nazis be incorporated into building relationships with adolescents?
In collaboration with youth work professionals from the field, the project “Mut vor Ort” explored such questions based on real needs and cases.
Professionals who work daily with neo-Nazi oriented boys and girls were supervised and advised on-site at various locations with youth work projects in Saxony over a period of two years. During this consultation period we worked on the general conditions, basic principles and boundaries in working with neo-Nazi oriented youth, dealing with discrimination as well as creating a democratic space and a gender-reflective perspective. This should ensure a professional, gender-reflective youth work has been established at the model locations which can deal with xenophobic and inhumane attitudes.
Based on a situational analysis, the existing concepts and work were tested, revised and developed further together with professionals. Regular supervision, qualification, team development and case consulting were included in the process. Besides the work with pedagogical teams, the project also took part in specific actions with youth in the institution.
The findings deliver concepts which can be applied and contain content which can be firmly and sustainably anchored in three different areas: with professionals, in the institution’s concepts and, on this basis, in local and regional networks as far as Saxon youth welfare. The findings and experience have been presented to the public and discussed at conferences and in publications.