designing processes for social change essay on course project lisa lorenz
© lisa lorenz • september - november 2010 • project documentation
designing processes for social change essay on course project
table of content
1 The Intro • Why am I interested? 2 The Theory • Is media affecting our behaviour? • What happens to cultural outsiders of society? • How can we work against this media monopoly? 3 The Case • The suburb Rosengård • How is it presented in the media? • How does reality look like? • What are the problems concerning perspectives, migration, gender and sustainability? • How to solve the problems • Who are the stakeholders? • What has been done so far? 4 The Project • What to change? • Our stategy: How to change? • How does participatory communication work for us? 5 The Summary • Reflection on the project.
1 the intro media = truth?
on guardian.co.uk, which puts the current situation in a nutshell: “The lowest form of popular culture—lack of information, misinformation, disinformation, and a con-
The goal of our media project for the course tempt for the truth or the reality of most “designing processes for social change” is to people’s lives—has overrun real journalism. create a conscience especially the internet Today, ordinary Americans (and so are all users, who gather their news and informa- Western people) are being stuffed with gartion via the web.
bage.” You can never put your trust in one
As I am a considerate internet user and part article or statement; you have to consider of the generation 2.0, that grew up together the whole picture. Although this procedure with the internet, I know how to face the is complex I think it can be helpful for a betdaily information flood. However, not eve- ter and deeper understanding. But we have ryone has the awareness that we cannot use to bring this fact back to the minds of the this virtual space like a code, neutral news internet users. report or encyclopedia. We have to memo- As I grew up in a multi-cultural communirize that the internet is an open space: that ty in Germany, I know that it is not always is great on the one hand, because the com- easy for two cultures to grow together. Of munity can create a unified diversity – but course my small home town is not a patch on the other hand it is dangerous – because on the city of Malmö, for which our media it is a unified diversity. There is an article project is designed for, but the principle is
the same. Where there is a migration move- he complained about people who dumped ment and two cultures come together, there their trash in public spaces in Rosengård. has to be a communication process to get Although he did not know who these peoalong with each other. On top of that this ple were, he told us they came from the city process gets severely complicated if there is center. In my opinion, it could be so easy, religion involved.
if people would just make one first step to
Let me set a personal example: my mother, meet each other halfway. who represents the average citizen quite Apparently there exists a fear in the heads well, used to have the common prejudices and hearts of people that have to deal with a against immigrants in Germany. She did not multicultural living situation. There is always achieve them because of personal experi- this “you are the intruders - we are the outsience but they were cultivated and produced ders” situation, which is caused by deficienby television, newspapers, and other media cy of knowledge, lack of education and also, and in the pubs at the cracker barrel: They and maybe for the most part, the promotion take our jobs, they do not want to work and of factoids by the media. Dag Hammarskjthey cause trouble.
öld figured this already out in 1953, when
I personally made the experience to see my he said: “Our work for peace must begin mother change her mind about our fellow within the private world of each one of us. citizens with a migration background within To build for man a world without fear, we days when she got in personal contact with must be without fear. To build a world of some women at her workplace. All of a sud- justice, we must be just. And how can we den she realized and became more open- fight for liberty if we are not free in our own minded.
minds?” This quote reflects perfectly the si-
But it is not only the native people, immi- tuation happening in Malmö today. grants also have prejudices. They feel ex- Now the question is if and how and why the cluded from society and think they are not media tries to manipulate the masses and welcome, as for example during a conver- what we can do with our project to work sation with an immigrant in Rosengård he against this process? explained that he loves to live there and that actually the neighborhood was the safest you can find in whole Malmö. Furthermore,
2 The Theory Is media affecting our behaviour?
also learnt to be more questionative. The internet has become a tool of government regulation, as it is well-illustrated via the recent revelations of war crimes committed
Since the development of maybe the most by U.S. troops in Iraq on the web portal wiinfluential innovation of the 21st century, kileaks.org. It is obvious how powerful pubthe internet, there exists a two way relation- lic movements have become and how much ship between mass media and public opini- respect the commanding have now for the on. This new tool of communication guides regular guy on Main Street. Of course there our society to a new participatory commu- is still censorship and restriction in countries nication. From now on everyone who has like China, North Korea and Russia but still access to the web is able to get and spread it has become easier to stay anonymous and information all over the world. If there is independent with the tool internet. an earthquake in China, people on the other side of the world will know it within minu- As one can adapt from Talcott Parsons` tes from it actually happened. Whereas in “The Structure of Social Action” (1937) the past it was possible for organizations or this new media furthermore is changing our governments to hush issues up, nowadays it priority of attention. We see and hear things has become nearly impossible. Although to- we would normally ignore. Events are puday everyone is able to distribute each one´s shed and hyped so much that you cannot opinion and promote it as a fact, people have elude them, like products of pop-culture,
icons, news but also advertisements. This away from the suburb, because they do not hyper-reality can be used to draw attention feel save there and fear the violence. Howon important and constructive things in a ever, the other half was happy living there positive way, for example, collecting money - everyone agreed that the violent acts and for the Tsunami victims in the Indian Ocean riots are definitely not caused by the media. in 2004 or otherwise in a negative way like Moreover, they knew that unemployment what is happening now with the reputation of the youth gangs and disintegration are in the suburb of Malmö – Rosengård. Due the cause for it. Furthermore they all told us to the distribution of so much violence in they feel the pressure added on their shoulmovie clips on youtube.com the media crea- ders, which is emphasized because of the tes an exaggerated picture of the suburb. biased promotion of Rosengård. Although it is not completely wrong what is distributed on the web it does not show the whole truth and therefore it is becoming unrealistic.
What happens to cultural outsiders of society?
How can we work against this media monopoly? So the media is definitely manipulating our society in the case of Rosengård to emphasize it´s outpost of sociability. This may happen because of misunderstandings, fear
The main reflection and concern of our and lack of education. It is also possible that group discussions was the question: Is this people try to blame one part of the city for negative hyper-reality emphasizing the vio- the trouble so they do not have to get invollence in Rosengård? And: If people on the ved, which is the common habit of represcontrary will stand up against this picture? sion – like we have seen it so many times in For this reason we did a survey and asked history, where minorities have been blamed people in Rosengård, what they think about for the issues of society. the picture distributed on the web regarding However, we want to make a change to give their neighborhood. The answers were as people a chance to get a diversified image diversified as we wished the presentation of of Rosengård and remind them of their reRosengård would be on youtube.com. May- sponsibility to question the content of their be 50 % of the interviewers wanted to move consumption on the web.
The suburb Ros e n g å r d : perspectives and problems
The suburb Rosengård is an area with ex- in the other parts of Malmö, therefore the clusively industrialized apartment blocks, living climate differs self-evidently from the which were built for immigrants and the average living standards in Malmö. The fugreat majority of the citizens of the neigh- ture of the youth growing up in Rosengård borhood have a migration background. Be- will be different from the average youth in cause of this there are many people who Sweden. On the other hand, this situation is
speak very poor Swedish, because they can common in many other larger cities all over communicate and live easily without it. The the world, because the governments made unemployment rate is severely higher than the same mistakes everywhere – they failed
to integrate immigrant’s right from the start. about Rosengård on the internet, the first Now it is even more difficult but nonethe- thing every foreigner or outsider will do, less, integration and connection are the only all you can read and see is about violence. solution for the increasing violence and un- Everyone´s self-esteem would be diminihappiness of the people in Malmö.
There are already
shed if one´s home and neighborhood was displayed as a warzone – because somehow
been you identify with your environment. far? Who are the organizations and stakeholders?
projects working on enhancing the This process is a vicious cycle that will hamchances of the youth and women in Ro- per the development of all the good work sengård, for example, Drömmarnas Hus that organizations like Drömmarnas Hus and the project Mitt Område. They sup- do for the society. So everyone who lives in
port children´s talents and show them Malmö should be interested in improving that they are valuable for society. Like this situation of misleading news on the inthis their parents see that their families ternet for creating a better living together, are appreciated and welcome. This is a with less violence, more hospitality and great step forwards for the integration of friendliness – most of all the city of Malmö immigrants. The city built many play- but also everyone who is interested in a fair grounds in the area and although the society and honest news report. buildings are not very pretty the neigh-
borhood is richly planted with trees and bushes. On our several trips there, we were never offended or felt unwelcome – on the contrary it was nice and quiet. We saw many children and women with babies which was quite an idyllic picture.
How is it presented in the media? However, if you want to find out something
How to solve the problems?
4 the Project The F-Media
We decided to fight the flood of negative immigrated woman, who can speak 64 clips about Rosengård on youtube.com with languages; the second is about a religious the same tools – our project was to create sect and the third is about the outbreak of fake news clips and promote them on the a strange disease. So we covered the main platform. The clips are neutral and do not prejudices people have about the citizens of have the purpose of defending the neigh- Rosengård: they are uneducated and cannot speak Swedish, they are radical Islamic and
they cause all the trouble. We want the au-
The topics of the clips are related to Rosengård in some way: one clip is about an
dience to realize that they should conceive their own opinion whilst turning the common clichés into ridicule. The character of the stories we present in our fake news is light and funny. They are not professio-
nally produced, what underlines our purpose not confusing the viewers to think we are serious about the news we present.
How does part i c i p a t o r y c o m m u n i c a tion work for us?
links to the clips on blogs and social networks so we will get more hits. The rating system on youtube.com is very easy – the more viewers, the more attention. And that
is what we need to defy competition with However, the messages we promote at the the other informative clips. Some of them end of the clips are serious: we remind them and unfortunately the most misleading ones to stay questionable when it comes to me- have an average number of 15.000 hits, dedia and news presented on the internet. We pending on how long ago they have been also added a link to our blog where we post posted. This number might sound unachieinteresting and actual news on topics that vable, but since uploading our dummy clip are connected with the image of Rosengård. two weeks ago without a large amount of Considering the designing of participatory promotion, we have already reached 130 communication our project will encourage viewers by today. As we are experienced inthe viewers to comment on our project and ternet users, we know that success depends go out to experience Rosengård with their on the keywords added to the movie and
own eyes. In relation to this we hope to sadly the more negative words you add, like create a more diverse picture of the suburb war, violence and others, the more attention without pointing our fingers towards a par- you get. ticular group
What about the offWhat could be line audience? the next step? Another way of spreading the movies could
Now that we have uploaded the movie clips be, with the support of sponsors and poson to the internet, the next step will be to sible stakeholders like Malmö City, via promote our project and push it in the right screens that already exist in public places, direction, which involves distributing the public transportation, the cinema and local
television. We could also reach the offline audience however our main goal for now is to create a more realistic picture of Roseng책rd on youtube.com. This tool is most commonly used, because it is part of popular culture, it is open, and the users can comment, link and edit entries and you can see an immediate reaction from the audience.
5 the summary
What have I learnt? On my behalf this project helped me very like migration and ghettoisation in suburbs. much to develop my mechanical skills in For me it was enriching to meet the people movie making and editing. But what was the from Drรถmmarnans Hus and see the diffemost valuable gain of our work was the phi- rent organizations working on social change losophical discussions and the theoretical in Malmรถ. It made me happy to see that thecontroversy we had during our group works. re is something working against the negative It was interesting to approach an issue like picture of Malmรถ that is distributed on the this, usually in my studies of Communi- media these days. I really hope that people cations Design, we of course have to deal who want to inform themselves about the with these questions, but we only scratch the city and also about Rosengรฅrd will watch our surface. I think it helps a lot to analyze the movie clips and try to stay open-minded to processes that cause and influence an issue fight a two-part society.
references & bibliography http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_influence http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Structural_Transformation_of_the_Public_Sphere#Habermas.27_Thesis http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2000/oct/28/dumb5 http://www.sweden.gov.se/sb/d/3083 http://www.thef-media.blogspot.com/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwqpuUDS6ac&feature=player_embedded (all internet references date: Tuesday 02. November 2010) Bennett, WL (ed) (2008) Civic life online: learning how digital media can engage youth. Cambridge Eisenberg, EM (2007) Strategic ambiguities Sassen, Saskia. ‚Towards a Sociology of Information Technology‘ ,Current Sociology 2002; 50; 365-388 The Digital Given–10 Web 2.0 Theses by Ippolita, Geert Lovink & Ned Rossiter Tufte and Mefalopulos (2009) Participatory communication [electronic resource]: a practical guide. Washington, D.C.: World Bank