Communal Peace and Conflict Work in Burgenland
The project Communal Peace and Conflict Work aims to contribute to social cohesion in Burgenland by creating the basis for professional peace and conflict work at communal level. In concrete terms, this means that in future a mediation service and support for citizen participation processes will be offered in the sectors of housing/neighbourhood, municipalities and integration. Currently, the ASPR is preparing a needs analysis and is carrying out the first pilot mediation initiatives.
The ASPR is thus reacting to a situation that is described (not only) at the municipal level as increasing polarisation and threat to social cohesion. The characteristics of this situation are, among others, a general uncertainty due to changes in social structures, a gradual increase in social inequality, and an uncertain way of dealing with the effects of flight and migration. This is associated with a rise in populist aspirations and a general complaint of increasing aggressiveness and intolerance. The example of citizens' initiatives illustrates a characteristic of this new situation: while these were initially predominantly seen as an opportunity and a gain for the democratic way of life, there is currently also growing concern that this could lead to a restriction of tolerance, social empathy, legitimised "from below".
The ASPR has more than 30 years of experience in mediating conflicts in the international arena. Within the framework of this project, this knowledge is now applied in the communal field in Burgenland by accompanying citizen participation initiatives, holding round tables, classical mediations, large group mediations, as well as through forms of preventive activities such as awareness raising, trainings and certain forms of community work.
We are pleased that we were able to win the Centre for Social Innovation as well as the Institute The Foundations of Law, both located at the University of Graz, as cooperation partners within the CPD cluster for this project.