Scenario #5
Extremism barometer (What is extreme?)

Extremism barometer (What is extreme?)

Aims / objectives

The aim is to reflect on the term "extremism" and to discuss what is to be classified as extreme, when and why, and at what point something is violent and dangerous.

Description of the method

The participants are shown pictures and asked to evaluate which of them represent something "extreme" from their point of view. This can be, for example, an extreme sport, an extreme weather situation, but also pictures of political extremism. Then, the participants are to discuss in groups or in pairs what is not extreme in this topic area and bring examples of this (e.g. a sport that is considered a non-extreme sport or popular sport).

They rate on a scale (barometer) of 1 to 10 or 1 to 5 how extreme they think something is.  They also discuss in which areas they would classify themselves as extreme or which extreme opinions they themselves hold. Afterwards, they present these in plenary. Then, they discuss with the facilitator and the entire group at what point the extreme is dangerous and for whom. Which extreme positions, attitudes or behaviour are acceptable and where is the tipping point where participants (and society) need to say "stop“ and counteract? In this way, the question of political violence is introduced and discussed.

Usability in social work

The method can help participants to talk about delicate issues that are usually not easy to address in a school context. What is needed is a trustful relation between the facilitator and the participants and a safe space to carry out the exercise.


Name of the method

Extremism barometer

Target group

Youth from 13 years


1 hour 30 minutes

Spatial requirements

A room for a group, screen


Critical thinking, self-reflection, tolerance, knowledge


Participants should reflect on what “extremism” is in order to better understand the term and social discourse

Method description

Facilitator shows pictures and asks what is extreme. Participants discuss in small groups, rate extreme positions on a scale and then discuss in plenary session (also, consider where is the tipping point to violence)

Social work context

Trustful relations and a safe space are important; probably easier than in school context


Selection of pictures; questions need to be prepared


The topic is delicate and needs time and trust. If this is not guaranteed, the exercise shouldn’t be carried out

Concept / application

N. Mocevic; presented in workshop during the project


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