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12/11/2019, 20:27, Vienna  DEUTSCH / ENGLISH




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(10/21/2015)
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peacecamps have been taking place in Austria since 2004.
They bring together some 40 youngsters and 15 adults in the tranquility of Austrian landscape, away from the hassle, day-to-day business and consumption of modern society. A wood, a field, a hill, a greenfield delimit the transitional space which offers participants manifold opportunities to experience self and other in an unusual face-to-face, to explore and find oneself and the other in the mirror of this encounter. This is an encounter of groups and people who, if at all, meet the ”other” with apprehension and fear: close, foreign, distant, unknown, familiar and feared neighbors, magically magnified into fantasized bogeymen, projections of one’s own disagreeable, obnoxious, dissociated, split-off parts; at the same time real, living, threatening, potentially dangerous others, all of them in need of a screen or container for their own mighty, daunting,  uncontrollable impulses calling for vengeance, retaliation and destruction.

Israelis, Palestinians, Hungarians, Austrians, Slovenes, Moslems, Jews, Christians constitute the participating group of a peacecamp, groups which define themselves by means of including or excluding, delimiting,  de- and appreciating members of the own versus the respective “other” group. The relationships of these groups and people to one another is based on collective narratives, transmitted conscious as well as unconscious ideas of the own as well as the respective other group and marked by fantasized attributions and projections of “good” and “bad” traits or characteristics to one another. There often is a striking polarization and partition in pre-ambivalent, dichotomous perception of self and non-self – representatives,  leading to unequivocal ascriptions  of solely good or solely bad attributes to the own, versus the “other group. These splits in perception and the use of the other as projection screen for one’s own group’s “bad”, unaccepted, unwanted attitudes and characteristics are the basis for xenophobic attitudes and collective acting out in political conflict. They are the motor for recurrent circles of vengeance, retaliation aggression, they perpetuate national, religious and other forms of political conflict, ultimatley leading to violence, war and destruction....





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