Accepted paper:

Conflict, contact, cooperation: an example from mosque disputes


Bernd Juergen Warneken (University of Tuebingen)

Paper short abstract:

This contribution deals with a specific but no rare pattern of disputes about the construction of representative mosques in Europe: the change from a often hostile conflict to a solution-oriented collaboration, accompanied with a process of decollectivisation and repersonalisation of the respective other.

Paper long abstract:

Since the 1990s, many European countries, including Estonia, have seen local disputes around the construction of representative mosques. This contribution aims to address a specific but by no means rare processual pattern of such mosque conflicts: the change from "hostile distance" via an "antagonistic collaboration" to a form of "solution-oriented collaboration". In the course of events, the definition, naming and assessment of the other also changes. Instead of perpetuating generalising and often depersonalising constructs of the other, a relevant proportion of the parties involved undergo a process of decollectivisation and repersonalisation of the persons opposite to them. In this talk, objective and subjective factors which influence such an outcome will be worked out. Special attention is given to the media in which conflicts are staged, and here particularly to the direct personal contacts possible in local conflicts. While relevant contributions in mass media and especially on the internet employ a rhetoric of pejorative othering, face-to-face contacts apparently can cause effects which promote empathy and thus collaboration. They can, but do not necessarily have to. Therefore, it has to be clarified which concrete preconditions and arrangements for conversation foster or obstruct collaboration and in how far the development of personal sympathy can also lead to the acceptance of the other as a fellow citizen. This means asking how life world recognition as well as institutionalised recognition of the other, both necessary for a collaboration on equal terms, can be achieved. Empirically, this lecture is based on three German examples from Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Wuerttemberg.

panel IP04
Collaboratively assembling persons