Schlagwort-Archive: Gesellschaftlicher Wandel

Link zu den studentischen Videos zu „Social Movements and Prefigurative Politics in a global perspective“

Projekte aus dem Seminar Social Movements and Prefigurative politics in a global perspective

Die Videos finden sich unter folgendem Link/For the videos click below:


Zero Plastic as an expression of prefigurative politics

Link to the video

In May of 2018, the European Commission proposed the introduction of a new set of rules in order to reduce the number of single-plastic items that are produced in the region. The reason behind the initiative is that, according to their press release on the subject, the 10-target single-use plastic (SUP) items account for the 70% of the marine litter on Europe. The rules are measured to specific items, for some, like plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons, the EC proposed a ban given the fact that there are alternatives already in place. For others, like plastic containers, it would entail a reduction in the manufacture process. (European Commission, 2018)


Research on Food-sharing in RUB

Link to the video

In this essay, I try to introduce the conception of food-sharing activity from perspectives of different scholars and organizations, its particular practice, its values and aims also represent our food-sharing research project conducted in Rub campus. Along with the same context, I will present scholars’ explanation on the bigger conception of on-going social phenomena, the emergence of modern “sharing economy” which characterizes itself as modern P2P market with the support of high technology and digital networking in modern society comparing to the old goods trads in ancient years. Weiterlesen

Food sharing as prefigurative politics in a public area –an initiative at the Ruhr-University Bochum

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Does the food sharing activity at the RUB fit to the characteristics of prefigurative politics?

“We all – farmers and fishers; food processors and supermarkets; local and national governments; individual consumers – must make changes at every link of the human food chain to prevent food wastage from happening in the first place, and re-use or recycle it when we can’t… In addition to the environmental imperative, there is a moral one: we simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste, when 870 million people go hungry every day” –FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, 2014

Our relationship with food has become disordered and obsessive. People buy more food than they can consume. Therefore, for the past few years, the “sharing economy” has attracted a great deal of attention. Whereas approximately 1.3 billion tonnes, roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year gets lost or wasted (FAO data), more social movements aimed at reducing this terrible habit and creating a community that redistributes underutilized food.

Moreover, there are cases where such movements result into legally binding norms. In 2016, for example, by adopting unanimous legislation, France became the first country in the world that oblige supermarkets to donate unsold food stuffs, rather than destroying it or throwing it away. The law aims to avoid the wasting of good quality food, save energy on subsequent processing and raise awareness of sustainable consumption. (Privitera, 2016: 93)

“Humans share food unlike any other organism. Many other animals … actively share food; however, the patterning and complexity of food sharing among humans is truly unique.” (Kaplan & Gurven, 2001: 1)

At the RUB there is a designated space that houses food-swap shelves and a refrigerator for students to share food, hosted by the AStA. This food sharing place operates on campus since June 2017. The AStA has installed two cabinets and a refrigerator at the SH entrance area of the student residence between the Kulturcafé and the AStA offices.

Therefore, our project at the Ruhr-University Bochum was aimed to answer the question whether the food sharing activity at the RUB fits to the characteristics of prefigurative politics.

Luke Yates defines „prefiguration“ as the „attempted construction of alternative or utopian social relations in the present, either in parallel with, or in the course of, adversarial social movement protest“.

The project consists of in-depth interviews that allowed us to explore the movement from the perspective of the research participants. Some of the interviewees were recruited randomly on the campus next to a place with a refrigerator and shelves for sharing food, and some interviews with activists were arranged in advance. We decided not to make an assumption about expecting results in order not to push interviewees’ to certain answers. Therefore, questions were neutral and open for the interviewees’ thoughts.

Our participants were separated into target groups, therefore interview questions differ in each group. We were asking people involved in the operation of the food sharing spot at the RUB (AStA representative and volunteers) particularly about

  • the aim of the project,
  • the schedule of filling the shelves and refrigerator and
  • the organization.

Food sharing activists and random students were asked about

  • the awareness about the initiative,
  • the regularity of checking the place for available food and sharing food back and
  • the reasons for participating etc.

Moreover, we asked participants to expand on their understandings of how everyday practices might lead to positive changes.

Therefore, we found out that the objective of this project is to contribute to food waste reduction in the RUB area at a time when a third of all our food ends up in the trash. By establishing a single point of contact for food sharing, individual food waste, hopefully, will be reduced.

The original idea was for people to bring their edible leftovers that they want to give away to the food sharing spot at the RUB.  What is more, shops are participating as well now. Stores that participate in food sharing activity in the Ruhr area, instead of giving away food items that are about to expire, supply this food to the refrigerator and shelves at the RUB twice a week (conducted by Food sharing Bochum volunteers).

What is important, there is a „Good enough for you“ supreme rule in sharing food at the RUB spot. You can only place the food there that you would be willing to eat yourself, or non-food items that could be of value to someone else. The food that has an expiration date should be put in the refrigerator with a special mark. You are not allowed to share food that is past its ‘Use By’ date. Moreover, the AStA do not encourage anyone to supply food that contains milk, eggs or other perishable food which should be used or consumed immediately. The ideal situation is to stick to non-perishable goods, such as sealed jars, packets or tinned items. Unprocessed fruit or vegetables are also a great option because you can see if they are fit to eat.

To be more precise, as there is always a potential health risk, these items cannot be stored in the food sharing place in RUB:

  • pig’s milk,
  • ground beef,
  • products that contain non-heated raw milk,
  • freshly prepared dishes containing eggs,
  • creams and pudding, tiramisu and mayonnaise (when made with eggs and milk),
  • and alcoholic beverages.

Moreover, students can find out information about the food sharing initiative on  Facebook. What is more, you can also find their announcements about events and restocking, such as:

 „Do you already know the ‚Fair-Teiler’* at the Ruhr-University Bochum? Maybe you can grab some fresh food there just before the end of the day, or catch up on something that would otherwise end up in the bin? If the cabinet is already empty, you may try again tomorrow“(translated from German -from Facebook).

Among activist, we found out, that the majority just grabs available food whenever it is available, but sharing food at  rare intervals. Some take it because he or she has forgotten to take the lunch, some to save some money. Nevertheless, without doubts food sharing activity appears to be a great initiative, on their mind, that can imply to food waste reduction and smart consumption.

“I found it really important – like the whole movement of food sharing idea, because we waste so much food. I really enjoy it, knowing about the possibilities to go and left the food somewhere and to be certain that someone else can use it.” – Joana, interview partner.

“Food sharing is a fundamental form of cooperation that … is particularly noteworthy because of its central role in shaping human life history, social organization, and cooperative psychology.” (Jaeggi&Gurven, 2013: 186).

As activities in social movements are meant to foster change (James and Van Seeters 2014), the benefits from the food sharing approach include revaluing food from waste, supporting social inclusion, and reclaiming underused spaces in the city. (Edwards&Davies, 2018)

It is a good way of raising awareness of the massive food waste on all levels ranging from producers to consumers. This activity empowers people to be the change they want to see in the world, by letting them participate in rescuing and sharing food.

In seeking to better conceptualize prefigurative politics as an approach to achieve social change, it is important to consider how people change the way they act. Partly the activity at the RUB is about creating a space for sharing leftovers from food suitable for consumption, trying things out to see if they work. What is more, the AStA is supported by the organization Food sharing Bochum, which regularly supplies the cabinets with food from the shops that share food, instead of throwing it away.

To sum up, based on the experience and opinions of members of the food movement, I would say that food sharing activity at the RUB enacts social change in the seemingly inconsequential details of daily life.

One can say that food sharing could represent an effective way to tackle food waste at the consumers‘ level, with a positive effect for the environment as well as for the economic potential. However, I would say that it is still important to clarify, how many people should participate to fulfill its objectives of the initiative.

Prefigurative practices are those intended to effect social and structural changes that embody the ideals of the desired future society. Therefore, I believe that starting from smaller, like at the RUB, you can someday foster great changes in society.

* Fair-Teiler – an unconditional, public distribution point – with shelves and often a fridge to enable people without internet access to participate in sharing food.

A contribution from Yuliia Kisilova


  1. Edwards, Ferne and Anna R. Davies. Food sharing with a 21st-century twist – and Melbourne’s a world leader. May 29, 2018. URL:
  2. Jaeggi, Adrian V and Michael Gurven. “Natural cooperators: food sharing in humans and other primates.” Evolutionary anthropology22 4 (2013): 186-95.
  3. James, P. and P. Van Seeters. 2014. Globalization and politics, volume II: Global social movements and global civil society. London, Sage.
  4. Kaplan, Hillard, and Michael Gurven. 2004. The natural history of human food sharing and cooperation: A review and a new multi-individual approach to the negotiation of norms. In Moral Sentiments and Material Interests: On the Foundations of Cooperation in in Economic Life, ed. Samuel Bowles, Robert Boyd, Ernst Fehr Herbert Gintis. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
  5. Privitera, Donatella. Describing the collaborative economy: forms of food sharing initiatives. Economic Science for Rural Development Conference Proceedings 43 (43), 2016, 92-98.
  6. Yates, Luke. “Rethinking Prefiguration: Alternatives, Micropolitics and Goals in Social Movements,” in Social Movement Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2014, p. 1-21.


Link to the video:

We have encountered enormous data about inefficiency and inequality in economy. My team and I have discussed about what kind of contribution that we could bring to at least increase the awareness of this sort of deficiency. We came up with a topic that is really common but often neglected. We saw that there are many parties (supermarkets and households) who waste food and dump it in trash bin, instead of giving it to whom who can still consume it. We chose “food sharing” as solution for this issue as our research, and tried to make a short video to get insight and then to share the result to other people. As Ruhr University Bochum students, we did know that the university has a “food sharing shelter” at a certain location inside the campus. This is our starting point to see how food sharing at Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) works and to analyze if this could represent a “social movement” and could be called a “prefigurative politics”. However, for the rest of this paper I might deploy my own analysis which does not represent our group’s view. Weiterlesen

Foodsharing: Prefigurative Politics at the Ruhr-University Bochum

In the context of our seminar “Social Movements and Prefigurative Politics” we had the possibility to prepare a scientific video about a social movement of our choice. In our group, we soon found a topic everybody was interested in: the sharing economy. As there are several approaches a sharing economy can embrace, like car sharing, sharing of household devices or flat share, we must focus on one sharing activity that is foodsharing. A main reason for that was that foodsharing is a social movement that everybody can participate in, independent from gender, age, social role and so on. In addition, it affects everyone, because everybody needs food regularly. During our research we found out that there is a foodsharing spot at the Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB) and we decided to investigate foodsharing at the RUB regarding to prefigurative politics. Our research question is: Does the foodsharing activity at the RUB fit to the characteristics of prefigurative politics? Weiterlesen

Zero Plastic as a Social Movement

Link to the video

The Global Plastic Issue

Human beings degrade the environment and destroy marine ecosystems[i] – that is the inconvenient truth. Currently, global plastic pollution is considered one of the most urgent environmental problems besides climate change. The extent of plastic in the world oceans is almost unimaginable[ii]. It might negatively affect human health and pose a risk to biological systems in the short- and long-term.[iii] What mainly contributes to these risks is our plastic consumption: One million drinking bottles made out of plastic are purchased every minute worldwide while 50 percent of all plastic produced is used only once. [iv] Such a plastic bottle needs 450 years to decompose in the ocean. Here, it is important to note, that decomposition in this context means that the bottle dissipates into extremely small pieces – so-called microplastic – which are dangerous for sea life, since fish consider it alleged food[v], and find their ways into our food[vi]. Already today, large parts of the oceans have six times more plastic than plankton. Plastic waste is an enormous threat to seabirds and marine mammals. If we continue business as usual and produce and consume plastic on such a massive scale like today, it is highly likely to have three times more plastic than fish in the world seas by 2050. [vii] Weiterlesen

The Edible City of Andernach: Addressing the Problems of Industrial Agriculture in a Post-Political Society

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The extent to which modern agriculture shapes every aspect of our society often goes unrecognized. Our agricultural methods lie at the heart of how society organizes itself and as a result are entwined with some of the biggest problems facing society, most notably the existential threat of climate change. This paper will proceed in three parts. The first outlines the problems of industrial agriculture and hopefully motivates the need for social movements to address this problem. The second short part suggests the value of urban agriculture in addressing these problems. The third and primary part considers our research of the edible city of Andernach in relation to the theoretical notion of the post-politicisation of society. The primary concern is over the effectiveness of non-agonistic, institutionally led, top down urban agriculture such as the city of Andernach, and what role they can play in addressing the problems of industrial agriculture. Weiterlesen

Die wahrscheinlich größten Herausforderungen, vor denen wir heute stehen, sind umweltpolitischer Natur. Die Zerstörung der Planetenoberfläche hat zum Teil Ausmaße angenommen, die es vielen Menschen schwer machen, blind dem Status quo zu applaudieren. Luft- und Wasserverschmutzung, der menschliche Beitrag zum Klimawandel durch Treibhausgasemissionen, Entwaldung, industrielle Landwirtschaft und ein steigender Energiehunger der wachsenden Weltgesellschaft bzw. der sie versorgenden fragilen Infrastruktur, all dies sind Aspekte, die viele Menschen nicht mehr ignorieren wollen oder können. Besonders kulminieren diese Effekte natürlich in Städten, welche  naturgemäß durch ihre Populations- eine vergleichsweise hohe Konsumptions- und Emissionsdichte aufweisen. Wenn man bedenkt, dass bis 2050 66% der Weltbevölkerung in Städten leben werden,[i] ergibt es augenscheinlich Sinn, hier einzugreifen und Strukturen zu verändern. Dies sollte idealerweise an mehreren Fronten geschehen: durch klassischen politischen Aktivismus sowie auch lifestyle politics oder prefigurative politics. Dieses Essay widmet sich dem letzten Punkt, um die Kriterien von prefigurative politics auf ein alternatives Stadtprojekt in Deutschland anzuwenden: die Essbare Stadt Andernach. Im Vorfeld ist bereits ein wissenschaftliches Video dazu entstanden, welches den Forschungsprozess und den Besuch der Stadt auf der Suche nach Antworten widerspiegelt. Weiterlesen


Gewerkschaften im Kampf gegen Rechtsextremismus – auch in den eigenen Reihen

Deutschland und Europa haben im Zuge der “Flüchtlingskrise” einen enormen Rechtsruck erfahren. Menschen die vor Krieg, Hunger und Armut fliehen schlägt vielerorts offen Ablehnung, Hass oder gar Gewalt entgegen. Was vor nicht allzu langer Zeit nur hinter vorgehaltener Hand gesagt wurde, ist nun nicht nur salonfähig, inzwischen sitzen sogar gewählte Volksvertreter in Landtagen und im Bundestag, die offen ihre rechtsextremen Ansichten verbreiten. Doch es gibt auch Menschen die sich nicht nur für die Geflüchteten, sondern auch gegen die Menschen engagieren, die mit ihrem Gedankengut versuchen Angst und Hass zu schüren. Zunächst gilt es hierzu die Begriffe Rechtsextremismus und Rechtspopulismus zu definieren.

Rechtsextremismus lässt sich nach einer Definition der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung zusammenfassend durch folgende Punkte charakterisieren. Diese Punkte sind eine antidemokratische Gesinnung, die Ablehnung der Gleichheit von verschiedenen ethnischen Gruppen, Diffamierung politischer und gesellschaftlicher Gegner und Relativierung von rassistischen Gewalttaten.

Rechtspopulismus setzt sich hingegen aus zwei verschiedenen Dimensionen zusammen. Diese Dimensionen sind der Populismus und eine rechte Orientierung. Unter Populismus versteht sich die Mobilmachung eines als homogen gedachten Volks gegenüber einer vermeintlichen, politischen, oberen Elite. Der Populismus ist durch Opportunismus geprägt (vgl. bpb [2][3]) und nutzt Einzelfälle gekonnt für die eigene Propaganda aus. Genutzt werden im Populismus Schwarz-Weiß-Konstellationen um auf komplexe Probleme einfache Antworten geben zu können.

Die rechte Orientierung im Rechtspopulismus ist gekennzeichnet durch eine kulturelle Abgrenzung und der Warnung vor einer vermeintlichen Überfremdung durch andere Kulturen und der Verdrängung der eigenen Kultur. Jedoch gehört dazu auch eine Ablehnung von kultureller Veränderung innerhalb der eigenen Kultur, wie das Entstehen neuer Lebensentwürfe (vgl. bpb [2]).

Wie der Umgang mit Rechtspopulismus bis hin zu Rechtsradikalismus aussehen soll wird gesellschaftlich seit den letzten Bundestagswahlen diskutiert. Es herrscht Uneinigkeit darüber, wie mit diesen Tendenzen umgegangen werden soll. Die beiden Pole vollständige Isolation und vollständige Integration von rechten Tendenzen lassen sich als Extreme wiederfinden. Manche plädieren dafür den Dialog mit dem Rechtspopulismus zu suchen und sie in Entscheidungen einzubinden, während andere die Ansicht vertreten, dass im Umgang mit rechtspopulistischen und rechtsradikalen Tendenzen nur ein Weg die optimale Lösung darstellt: die Isolation. Welcher dieser Ansätze der richtige Weg ist, wird hier nicht beantwortet werden können. Diese Forschungsarbeit setzt einen anderen Schwerpunkt und fragt, warum und wie sich Gewerkschaften in Deutschland gegen diese Tendenzen positionieren. Weiterlesen