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PSP — Sweden

Table of contents 

Participatory Social Planning – Sweden

The LEMA project has been formed in Malmö by two enti­ties: Malmö Uni­ver­si­ty and the City of Malmö. The project has involved a group of young boys, aged 18–20, liv­ing in a socioe­co­nom­i­cal­ly vul­ner­a­ble neigh­bour­hood in the city.

The main aim of LEMA has guid­ed the project car­ried out in Malmö, which was based on the phi­los­o­phy and the method­olog­i­cal frame­work of Future work­shop. Its phi­los­o­phy is to offer a demo­c­ra­t­ic and par­tic­i­pa­to­ry are­na for dis­cus­sions con­nect­ed to an over­ar­ch­ing theme that the par­tic­i­pants wish to change or devel­op. The theme often con­cerns a sub­ject or state in a neigh­bour­hood, school, or work­place. In Malmö the par­tic­i­pants dis­cussed young people’s lives in their neigh­bour­hood, that is,

“What do I/we need to do to give young peo­ple in [the neigh­bour­hood] a good life today and in the future?”. ”

Two facil­i­ta­tors guid­ed the par­tic­i­pants through the three phas­es that the method of Future work­shop is based on. In the first, cri­tiquing phase, they reflect­ed and ana­lyzed on options and bar­ri­ers relat­ed to the theme, and in the sec­ond, vision phase, on alter­na­tives and utopi­an ideas on how they would want it to be. Fol­low­ing the method, the work end­ed with a real­iza­tion phase where the par­tic­i­pants dis­cussed con­crete solu­tions and actions. This phase is impor­tant because the pri­ma­ry aim of Future work­shop is to sup­port change. Here the par­tic­i­pants there­fore used the ana­lyt­ic work and ideas from the pre­vi­ous phas­es to agree on fur­ther actions and activities.

Future workshop

The Future work­shop is a method devel­oped by Robert Jungk and and Nor­bert Müllert (1984) aim­ing at cre­at­ing a demo­c­ra­t­ic space where peo­ple, on their own premis­es and con­di­tions, can come togeth­er to col­lec­tive­ly influ­ence their sur­round­ings and their own lives. The method, which today is used in var­i­ous coun­tries includ­ing Swe­den and Den­mark, thus offers a space where par­tic­i­pants with dif­fer­ent inter­ests, expe­ri­ences and val­ues meet to dis­cuss and plan actions for change.

The Future work­shops under­ly­ing ideas and views are by Den­vall and Salo­nen (2000) crys­tal­lized into six dimen­sions that form an ide­o­log­i­cal basis for devel­op­men­tal and change work:

  • The view of the human being is based on a belief in peo­ple’s abil­i­ty to think, cre­ate and take respon­si­bil­i­ty for their lives and their surroundings.
  • The view on human devel­op­ment is that it is not pos­si­ble to rely on estab­lished solu­tions, and there­fore peo­ple and soci­eties need cre­ativ­i­ty and courage to try new solutions.
  • The view on col­lec­tive cre­ation is that insights and actions are cre­at­ed in con­fronta­tions and encoun­ters with oth­er people.
  • The view on the inter­play between crit­i­cism and vision, it is in the inter­face of resis­tance, dreams, and ideas about the future that inno­va­tion and change becomes possible.
  • The view of democ­ra­cy is that demo­c­ra­t­ic devel­op­ment pre­sup­pos­es new forms of joint deci­sions in line with soci­etal changes.
  • The view of the future is that there is an abil­i­ty in human being to choose paths and for­mu­late future images and strategies.

The Future work­shop offers first and fore­most an are­na for pro­mot­ing action and change, based on a struc­tured process that com­bines ratio­nal and log­i­cal analy­sis with cre­ativ­i­ty (Den­vall och Salo­nen 2000:30). Apply­ing the method in a research con­text is some­what dif­fer­ent from this approach. How­ev­er, as for the urban method “Upturned par­tic­i­pa­tion”, the Future work­shop offers the pos­si­bil­i­ty for actions researchers to sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly inves­ti­gate and ana­lyze how changes can be cre­at­ed when draw­ing on par­tic­i­pants own cri­tique, visions, and solu­tions. In this way knowl­edge about social and soci­etal devel­op­ment can be created.

Further reading

Buhl, Jette; Gitte Nile­sen & Ingrid Therkelsen (1989). Fremtidsverk­stad – en udfor­dring til det sociale arbe­jde. Nordiskt Sosialt Arbei­de 3/1989, 16–22.

Den­vall, Vern­er & Tapio Salo­nen (2000). Att bry­ta vanans makt – Framtidsverk­städer och det nya Sverige. Lund: Studentlitteratur

Jungk, R., and N.R. Müllert. 1984. Hånd­bog I Fremtidsværk­st­ed­er. Viborg: Poli­tisk Revy. (TRAN Nielsen, B. S.)