Program Plan

time zone of the entire event is CEST (Central European summer time)


On the third day of the symposium, two workshops will be held:

1. Janani Mohan, Stanford University

Dweebs Global Policy Institute** – Creating Social Movements during a Pandemic from Mental Health Policy to Fighting Child Labor

Representatives of Dweebs Global will talk about the creation of their social movement during the pandemic. Then they dive into their policy research on mental health policy in the U.S. education system to help children post-pandemic, fighting child labor in South Asia (India/Bangladesh), and the importance of leveraging the economy to fight climate change.


Adriana Poppe, PMV Research Group Köln

Health care systems and COVID-19 measures in 6 Latin American countries

This workshop is about differences in health care systems comparing 6 Latin American countries: Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, and Chile. During the pandemic, different coping strategies have been implemented by various governments worldwide to address the emerging health crisis of COVID-19. While most developed countries count on supporting healthcare and social systems, developing countries face additional challenges due to lack of social security or informal employment.


2. Tilman Krakau, Trainer for Nonviolent Communication 

Nonviolent Communication in political discourse

The approach of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) from the psychology of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg has contributed to more understanding, efficiency, appreciation and thus to more satisfaction in communication in private and professional life in the last decades. The approach consists of method and inner attitude. In this workshop you will learn about the approach and how to apply it, and you will first take steps by trying out both precise self-expression and conversation-enhancing empathy. But that’s not all. This workshop is also about the possibilities of applying CSF in discourse. Can such an approach, which is mainly aimed at the bilateral, also be a useful tool for systemic issues? Besides short, crisp inputs there will be a lot of interaction, trying out and discussion. I look forward to seeing you.

 Our first workshop will be held in close cooperation with Dweebs Global Policy Institute. The DG Policy Institute is an institute that works to implement research-backed policy and programmatic solutions. Leveraging the work of its parent nonprofit, Dweebs Global, in over 35 countries around the globe, the Policy Institute implements solutions from human rights issues like child labor to environmental and security challenges. The DG Policy Institute is directed by Janani Mohan. Its parent Dweebs Global works to promote free career development, education/literacy, and mental health mentorship.

Panel Discussion

Corona cohesion or pandemic polarization – how is it affecting social cohesion?

This question will be the focus of our panel discussion.

Time and date: Friday, 04.06.2021: 18.30 – 19.30


I Social inequality

Salikhova Irina, University of Moscow

Gender gap in the distribution of gender roles in the family in the context of a risk society: sociological analysis

The family is one of the fundamental institutions of the society. The spread of the coronavirus infection has led to various changes in the usual life patterns within the family and outside it. The family institution was transformed, as the period of the outbreak of the pandemic became a real challenge for many families.

The empirical framework is represented by two surveys; one conducted in normal (i.e., pre-pandemic) situation in the country (before the spread of COVID-19) and the other in a risk society (after the outbreak of the pandemic). The respondents were students of Moscow and Lyon universities. The comparative analysis was carried out according to the following criteria and gender roles: child rearing, financial support, head of the family, household management (which was divided into more detailed components) and the emotional state of spouses.

Family members perform gender roles differently, as before the pandemic it was possible to observe purely male and female responsibilities. Women’s responsibilities include cooking, washing, cleaning, and ironing, while men’s ones include repairs and paying bills. In the risk society, there is a trend towards egalitarianism in the implementation of gender roles, therefore, the gender gap in performing gender roles in a family is narrowing.

The result of the author’s study was a typology of the beliefs of Moscow and Lyon students about the distribution of gender roles in the family in the context of a risk society which is based on the performance of gender roles in the family in a risk society. Thus, before the risk society, the responsibilities in the family, according to the students of both cities, should have been performed jointly, and not by individual members. Even after COVID-19, there is a trend towards egalitarianism in the performance of family responsibilities.

Besides, from a demographic point of view, it was found that depending on the gender of the respondent and the city of residence, the beliefs about how gender roles were distributed and how they should be distributed in the family differ. At the same time, the beliefs about how gender roles should be distributed in the family vary from what exists in reality, since most of the responsibilities fall on the shoulders of women. This may be due to the fact that women perform gender several times a day (cooking, cleaning), while men are more likely to perform their responsibilities as the case arises (for example, a family refrigerator broke down that needs to be repaired).

The gender gap is connected with the fact that before the outbreak of the pandemic, gender roles in the family were assigned to a certain sex, so there were purely male and female responsibilities. With the advent of a risk society, gender roles in the family, according to students of both cities, should be shared jointly, which undermines the gender gap. Therefore, the processes of transformation of gender roles are constantly occurring, they change depending on the time, the country, and the family as a whole, so that the research of students’ beliefs about the distribution of gender roles will be relevant in the future.


Dr.  Jianghong Li, WZB

Social Inequality and the Corona Virus: A vicious feedback loop

In this presentation, I argue that the Corona virus exposes and deepens social inequality and social inequality can worsen the COVID transmission. I make this point based on stablished evidence on social inequality in health generally speaking, previous pandemics, and emerging empirical data on inequality in COVID-19 infections rates and deaths in the UK and US, and the observations (anecdotal evidence) of indirect negative effects of the pandemic through containment measures on different social groups.  

Increasing empirical data reveal that socially and economically disadvantaged groups are most vulnerable to the Corona virus: they are more likely to become infected and, once infected, they have a higher risk of suffering from severe symptoms and mortality. The repercussions of the pandemic and of the containment measures extend far beyond the immediate health impacts among those who contract the virus. They include potentially far-ranging effects on mental health, family relations and educational trajectories. Again, disadvantaged groups tend to be disproportionately affected by these secondary consequences, potentially leading to low compliance of containment measures. Social inequality can affect the overall trajectory of the pandemic and thus is harmful for society as a whole including privileged groups. 

I) Social inequality

In the first block, the focus lies on social inequality, because the pandemic itself, as well as the restrictions it imposes on everyday life, do not affect all people to the same extent (Wachtler et al., 2020): the dependency of education on socioeconomic status intensifies (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 2020), the situation of stigmatised groups becomes even more severe (e.g. Bendau et al., 2020) and clear gender effects can be seen in home office work, which again is related to socioeconomic status (Hank & Steinbach, 2020). This raises the question of whether these differences in affectedness also lead to different reactions and whether these are related to psychological characteristics such as personality or resilience. What role does the internal justification of injustice play in coping with the crisis (Jost et al., 2004)? When does social inequality motivate people to initiate social change? Furthermore, the question arises to what extent social inequality leads to a division in society that promotes radical tendencies.

II Extremist tendencies and conspiracy theories

Niklas Vögeding

The talk will mainly address two questions: On the one hand, the phenomenon of conspiracy ideologies will be defined in terms of social theory, (socio-)psychological motives will be discussed, and structural similarities to the antisemitic worldview will be pointed out. Furthermore, we will take an empirical look at the Covid19 pandemic and its impact on conspiracy mentalities.
In a second step, we focus on counseling practice: what challenges do psycho-social environmental counseling face in the context of conspiracy narratives? What phenomena do we encounter here and how does the veritas – counseling center for those affected by conspiracy narratives work? Finally, we will reflect in a practice-oriented and forward-looking way on the attitude with which one can encounter people who believe in conspiracies.


Andreas Peham

The Plague, Democracy and the Extreme Right

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the COVID-19 pandemic a “democratic imposition”. Many people nowadays act as if it is not the pandemic that is an imposition, but democracy. They are encouraged  by right-wing extremists who need the crisis like the air they breathe and are therefore fueling it. Under democratic slogans such as “freedom” and with all kinds of conspiracy myths, they lure the socially anxious. They agitate against the “system” and mean democracy, which is more than individual “freedom”.

III Political and social engagement

Swen Hutter

How has German civil society responded to the pandemic?

The presentation focuses on the scope and type of protest and civic engagement in Germany during the COVID-19 pandemic. The starting point is the dilemma faced by civil society in these extraordinary times. As during past crises and catastrophes, civil society has a crucial role in coping with the situation. It connects citizens, promotes solidarity, and assists those unable to cope on their own. Also, it acts as a critical voice and calls attention to unheard grievances, and it keeps political elites accountable. At the same time, restrictions of freedom of movement and assembly have rendered traditional forms of protest and civic engagement difficult and, at moments, even impossible. How has German civil society dealt with this dilemma? Based on original individual and organizational survey data, the presentation empirically assesses this question. It argues that the emerging forms of solidarity and the anti-Corona protests may both signal an acceleration of long-term trends towards a more informal and politicized civil society.

Sigrid Kannengießer

Social movements that advocate for a sustainable society and climate protection are not a new phenomenon, but have become more visible and socially and politically significant with the Fridays for Future movement and other social movements that pursue the goal of sustainability with different foci shortly before the Covid 19 pandemic. Due to the extensive restrictions also on freedom of assembly during the pandemic, activist practices were significantly shaken.
Using the example of the repair movement in Germany and the international Fridays for Future movement, this presentation discusses how the practices of articulation, mobilization, and networking of these movements changed during the pandemic.

III) Political and social engagement

The third block takes up the change in civic engagement in the wake of the Corona crisis (Mullis, 2020). We would like to bring together contributions on current protest events, civic expressions of solidarity, neighbourhood initiatives, community help and other individual as well as collective forms of support and political expression. Have new forms of engagement, such as digital protests, emerged and which groups of people are engaged (Hunger & Hutter, 2020)? To what extent does the individual psycho-emotional experience of the crisis influence political participation? In other words, what effects do social assistance services have on the psycho-emotional experience of the recipients (e.g. Corvo & De Caro, 2020)? Does a sense of solidarity actually emerge and is interindividual trust and trust in politics strengthened (e.g. Gerhards, 2020)? In short, how does civic engagement during the Corona crisis affect individual experience and individual action and ultimately social cohesion? We look forward to initial contributions on this topic from Ronja Weil, press spokesperson for “Ende Gelände”, and Prof. Dr. Swen Hutter, who is currently researching Corona and civil society as part of the Berlin University Alliance.

IV Political communication

Tobias Rothmund, Fahima Farkhari & Carolin-Theresa Ziemer, Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena

Some people are more susceptible to misinformation than others but nobody is on the safe side – Psychological perspectives on political communication

In a digitized media environment, political communication undergoes structural changes that affect the role of politicians, journalists and political laypersons. These changes reinforce some societal challenges such as the problem of fake news or misinformation. In this presentation, I want to outline and discuss psychological perspectives on how research can add to the understanding of the topic of misinformation. The goal of this perspective is to better understand the boundary conditions of (a) individuals’ susceptibility to believe in misinformation or false evidence in digitized media environments and (b) how individuals can benefit from psychological interventions that aim at reducing this susceptibility. Based on signal detection theory, dual process models of information processing and a motivated cognition framework, I discuss theoretical assumptions, empirical evidence and avenues for future research.