Naming political assumptions
In a first step, ask the group to brainstorm the assumptions that shape their views of politics, power, and how social change happens. Should the group be large, it might make sense to divide it into smaller groups for the brainstorming.
The following questions can be helpful to brainstorm assumptions:
How do we think social change happens?
How do we see power and conflict in our societies?
How do we see political processes work in our society?
Once the brainstorming gets slow, or after about 10 to 15 minutes, bring all the groups together (if you divided them for the brainstorming), and ask the plenary to agree on a list of assumptions. Questions are:
What are the assumptions and/or the underlying belief systems we share?
What are our differences?
What impact do these assumptions or belief systems have on our choices about what we do and how we do it?
The outcome of this exercise can form an important background during strategy development. Should the differences be huge, it might also make sense to follow-up with a discussion how these differences will impact the work of the group, and what agreements need to be made to work efficiently as a group in spite of the differences.
Deborah Brandt: Naming the Moment: Political Analysis for Action, A Manual for Community Groups. Toronto, 1989
Lisa VeneKlasen/Valerie Miller: A New Weave of Power, People & Politics. The Action Guide for Advocacy and Citizen Participation. Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, 2002