Attuning Oppositional Extremism through Social Dialogue. Recognize, Attune, Limit*
OppAttune tracks the evolution of “extremist oppositional narratives” and protectionist decision-making, develops an innovative attunement model and tests a series of interventions at national and transnational levels which limit the spread of extremism – while also facilitating constructive oppositional discourse as well as enhanced social dialogue. OppAttune hence revitalises trust in key democratic institutions. Its actions involve an online I-Attune self-test designed to build democratic capacity across diverse publics. OppAttune will create an OppAttune Summer Academy for students and researchers (2025) and an OppAttune Winter Academy for practitioners and policymakers (2026). OppAttune provides micro, meso and macro level evidence-based recommendations and strategies designed to attune the potential of extremist oppositional narratives to disrupt democratic social development. It delivers this via a multi-disciplinary consortium of 17 countries across the EU and its periphery. As German OppAttune partner, cultures interactive (NGO) will advance its work on the Narrative Group Work approach and Youth Cultural methods in view of building skills of social dialogue, which will be increasingly piloted in rural and small-town hot spot areas and intercultural communities. cultures interactive will do so in cooperation with the NGO Friedenskreis Halle, operating in Saxony-Anhalt, a German state that has recently witnessed high degrees of right-wing extremism.
Democracies and the European vision are under threat by extremism and lack of constructive political and social dialogue. Existential insecurities arising out of economic and refugee-related crises have been exacerbated by Covid-19 to create re-bordering e.g., xenophobic nationalism and re-shoring e.g., the localisation of production. Oppositional worldviews, dissenting narratives and conflict within public debate are all vital to a functioning, lively democracy. However, destructive polarisation through an extremist oppositional us-versus-them logic, boosted by resentment, hate speech and a rhetoric of Group-Based Enmity (according to the German GMF scale) are at the core of the rise of extremist narratives. Disruptive actors abuse the realm of democratic opposition by malevolently employing disinformation, ‘hot cognitions’, emotions of othering, conspiracy theories and a generalized societal mistrust in order to create new forms of direct action – which are (mis)understood by many as ‘direct democracy’. This direct action cultivates unlikely coalitions, creates tempting alternative worlds and post-truth spaces – on-line as well as off-line – which spread extremist narratives into the societal mainstream. Hereby deep rooted sociological and historical pathways are appealed to which go back to authoritarian times of European history. OppAttune will help to recognize, attune and thus limit extremist oppositional narratives – in order to foreground EU transnational freedoms, social dialogue and multilateralism.
cultures interactive is delighted to be partner of the OppAttune project which focuses on the need to support and facilitate pathways of constructive oppositional discourse and enhanced social dialogue. For, such activities will keep us from overemphasizing the “countering” mechanisms which often involuntarily contribute to polarization as well as to an “otherizing” of what we call ‘extremism’ but may actually be entrenched in ourselves more than we realize. A working concept of ‘everyday-extremism’ or possibly even an ‘everyman/woman-extremism’ is one element within the project’s discourse. All the more successful OppAttune will be in effectively preventing what has so poignantly been named the “securitisation” of education, counselling and community work under the auspices of counter terrorism since 9/11.
- The Open University, United Kingdom
- Glasgow Caledonian University, United Kingdom
- Panteion University, Greece
- The American University of Paris, France
- Malmo Universitet, Sweden
- Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Austria
- Universita Ta Malta
- Ozyegin Universitesi, Turkey
- Istanbul Bilgi Universitesi, Turky
- University Of Cyprus
- Institut Jozef Stefan, Slovenia
- Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
- Fondacija Centar Za Medjunarodne I Bezbednosne Poslove, Serbia
- Kosovar Centre for Security Studies, Kosovo
- Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, Iraq
- Udruzenje Proni Centar Za Omladinski Razvoj, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- cultures interactive e.V., Germany
April 2023 until March 2026
Horizon Europe / RIA – Research and Innovative Methods
* The title is in this text edited by cultures interactive. The official title, which is currently in use, at the beginning of the project states: “OppAttune – Countering Oppositional Political Extremism through Attuned Dialogue: Track, Attune, Limit.”