Scenario #2
Reflecting on the rebellious moment of democracy

Aims / objectives

The aim of this exercise is to sharpen (self-)reflection and critical analysis of the political environment, one‘s own position in society, possibilities for action and power relations. The method should encourage reflection on courage, oppression, daily power distribution, structural discrimination, one's own biography in terms of when one stood up against injustice or authoritarianism and what happened as a result. The democratic moment is that moment when a person demands their own rights to have a say and resists oppression – or does so for others.

Description of the method

There are two variants of this method. In the first variant, the facilitator (youth worker) describes certain situations in which people are treated unfairly, oppressed or discriminated against. This can be shown through short videos, cards, comics or short stories.
One part of the participants then tries to put themselves in the shoes of these people and think about options for action. These are developed in small groups and then presented to the rest of the participants. The others work out scenarios of reactions. What can succeed, what consequences can be expected?

This exercise can be illustrated by stories about real cases of resistance. In the second variant, the participants consider for themselves at what moments they were unruly or rebelled against authority, but also when they were not and why. Possible consequences should always be discussed. Following the examples, there should be a general discussion about the question of when it is necessary and possible to democratically rebel against authoritarianism, discrimination and injustice.

Usability in social work

First feedback from social workers in the context of our project shows that the method can also be applied, at least partly, in an informal context, without many formal requirements. Nonetheless, a more formal context (i.e. at least a room where a group can discuss without disturbance) offers more possibilities. In any case, it is important to point out the possibilities for action that the participants have in a given context. While it is important to raise awareness of unjust power relations, this should not end in the impression of powerlessness, but on the contrary, strengthen the courage to get involved in different situations.


Name of the method

Reflecting on the rebellious moment of democracy

Target group

No limitation, but especially for young people


30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on context)

Spatial requirements

No special requirements


Reflection, critical thinking, self efficacy, critical understanding of the world, valuing democracy


Awareness raising about injustice, rebellion and democracy

Method description

Individual exercise between trainer and participant or group exercise with different variations.

Social work context

Method is suitable for different contexts in social and youth work, but better in a more formal setting such as group discussion, workshop or seminar, etc.


Examples of democratic rebellion against authoritarianism, discrimination, injustice need to be prepared in advance; facilitators should tell about their own rebellious moments of democracy and experiences.


If the experiences are not discussed, participants could get a negative or wrong impression about their self efficacy. They could over- or underestimate their own power in different situations; thus, it is important to accompany the process.

Concept / application

Pausch, M.; study programme MA Social Innovation and workshops for social workers, educators.


Pausch, M. (2019). Democracy Needs Rebellion, Theoria, 66(161), 91-107. Retrieved Oct 17, 2021, from

Check our Partners