Kai-Uwe Hellmann opens his contribution on „marginalisation and mobilisation" with the simple statement „who protests, has problems". The author analyses protest using the concept of relative deprivation and arrives at the conclusion that usually those who have the most reasons to protest, are the least likely to articulate it. Replacing the common distinction between centre and periphery by that between inclusion and exclusion enables one to see marginalisation both as a process and as a state of exclusion. From this one can further derive a differentiation between structural marginalisation, which is neither intended nor attributable, and strategic marginalisation, which results from the decisions of other actors. Structural marginalisation may inhibit successful protest mobilisation as a result of insufficient resources, a lack of generally acceptable frames of meaning, or unfavourable political opportunity structures. Even if movements succeed in passing these barriers, strategic marginalisation may prevent them from realising their mobilisation potential. As a result, Hellmann arrives at a pessimistic conclusion regarding the future chances of mobilisation.
In his article „The return of the social", Roland Roth combines three theoretical strands: social movements, poor people’s movements, and the struggle for civil rights. According to Roth, the common conceptualisations of „new social movements" fail to take into account resource-poor groups and their social problems and demands. Drawing on the American discussion on poor people’s movements he sketches the success chances of spontaneous, disruptive, and radical protest forms. Through them, access can be gained to resourceful actors and established organisations and to the moral, material, informational and integrative support that these may offer. In the Federal Republic, as well, Roth sees new actors arising that may bring some „movement" into the stifling corporatist traditions of the social-political arena. The concept of citizenship, that has become prominent in recent debates, offers itself as a leading principle to guide political mobilisation for the recognition of the demands of marginalised groups. The struggle for social citizenship rights has substantive, normative, and theoretical implications: research on social movements that incorporates marginalised groups and neglected demands may provide a counterweight against the increasing exclusiveness of social citizenship rights and democratic participation.
Stefan Pabst investigates actors, aims, and strategies of „interest mediation through social advocacy" on the basis of an empirical analyses of the coverage of poverty in the journals of private welfare organisations (particularly the „Partitätischer Wohlfahrtsverband" and „Caritas"). This coverage is a function of strategic and political considerations. From the internal perspective of the organisations, its function is to take the edge off the criticism of member organisations and professionals. At the same time, the coverage in the journals should improve the organisation’s public image and secure funding revenues. Political considerations lead to relatively moderate demands, not least in order not to endanger co-operative relations with the state. Recent (personnel) developments, however, show that the welfare organisations tend to develop a more conflict-oriented approach towards the federal government, which among other things is expressed in public criticism of the dismantling of the welfare state and in the organisations’ participation in the „Social and Employment Summit". Pabst draws the conclusion that private welfare organisations may succeed in making poverty a topic of attention among the wider public. However, in doing so they also instrumentalise the poor for organisational interests and reduce them to the status of a clientele that is deemed incapable of independent political action.
Friedhelm Wolski-Prenger and Harald Rein discuss current developments and future perspectives of protest by the unemployed. Friedhelm Wolski-Prenger sketches the mobilisation problems of unemployed people’s movements. Only a small part of the mass of unemployed participate in the movement’s activities. Wolski-Prenger investigates the contextual constraints and the internal organisational, ideological, and strategic differences among the various (religious, independent, unionist, and welfare-corporatist) „currents" within the movement of the unemployed. These actors share a commitment to alleviate the material, psychological, and social burdens of the unemployed. However, inadequate co-ordination, demarcation tendencies, as well as insufficient mutual interest, have resulted in the present lack of influence of the movement. The author therefore draws a pessimistic conclusion for the future: the movement of the unemployed can only gain more influence if it succeeds in developing practicable strategic concepts. These should include renewed attempts at co-ordination, a rapprochement among the various currents as well as a new alliance politics.
Harald Rein, on the contrary, arrives at a more positive assessment of the potential of the unemployed people’s movement. Although he acknowledges that a broad movement of the unemployed has thus far not developed, the author emphasises the underlying mobilisation potential and dismisses forms of social worker paternalism in mobilising the unemployed. The history of the emergence of the „Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Initiativen gegen Arbeitslosigkeit und Armut" (National Association of Initiatives against Unemployment and Poverty) shows that the political action of the unemployed conforms neither to the model of organised political lobbying, nor to the illusionary imagery of mass protest. Instead, one sees a multitude of patterns of resistance, rooted in the practices of daily life and evolving along social, economic and historical lines. The common fixation on the spectacular has thus far obscured these developments from view.
Drawing on the example of the „Verein zur Förderung der Integration Behinderter" (Association for the Integration of Disabled People) Eric Hammann argues for a „culture of equality-in-diversity". Self-organised outpatient services, which have to strike a balance among the sectoral logics of market, state, and private sphere, can be seen as institutional components of civil society. Traditional services for the disabled are characterised by problem partitioning according to the logic of bureaucratic rationality. Self-organised outpatient services, on the contrary, offer a democratic and humane alternative, which creates room for individual development as well as for new forms of (family) independent solidarity. Their aim is to enable disabled people to make their own decisions on the aims, actors and timing of the service relation. However, to achieve this aim a changed understanding of institutionalised care and a democratic perspective on care relations are necessary. Only then can the social construct of „disability" and the concomitant marginalisation of those involved be transgressed.