Successful collaboration begins with a shared language, hence the need for a glossary. This joint effort of contributors from several teams ensures, on the one hand, terminological and conceptual coherence across not only our theoretical approaches, but also the qualitative case studies and quantitative research conducted in OPPORTUNITIES. On the other hand, our glossary facilitates communication between the academic side of the project and the fieldwork conducted by NGOs, uniting our teams working from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Mauritania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Senegal.

For more information about the Structure and Objectives of the Glossary, click here...)

The concept of political listening as proposed by Susan Bickford (1996) moves beyond notions of listening as a “caring or amicable practice” (3), acknowledging the conflictual and contentious character of politics (2). Such listening creates a riskiness, a riskiness that “comes partly from the possibility that what we hear will require change from us” (Bickford 1996, 149).

Political listening accepts this risk and the vulnerability that both speakers and listeners incur when “narratives of difference” are shared. Such a listening stance is not merely empathetic or tolerant, but it is also oriented towards taking action. When we listen in this sense, we recognize the other as a peer, as someone who has aspirations and ideas about a good life and well-being. We are open to hearing their story, arguments, and thoughts, and open to confronting these with our own story, thoughts, and arguments. Listening doesn’t erase differences in thoughts and views but involves a willingness to consider someone else’s ideas. This willingness is a starting point for political action.

⇢ see also Ethics of listening, Multiperspectivity, Perspective taking, RecognitionPolyphony

References and further reading:

Bickford, Susan. 1996. The Dissonance of Democracy: Listening, Conflict, and Citizenship. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Category: A, B

Work Package: 3, 6, 7