Force the circle

Type of tool: 
0-30 min
Topics addressed: 
Social inclusion

Experience being part of a majority group and being in a minority. Analyze the strategies we use to be accepted by the majority group.


Participants reflecting on majority and minority relations as well as the social and political mechanisms which divide society.

Step by step process: 

Divide the group into 2 subgroups: The outsider(s) must try to get into the circle while those who form the circle must try to keep them out. Tell the observer to take notes on the strategies used both by the outsider and those in the circle. After 2 or 3 minutes and regardless of whether they managed to enter the circle or not, the outsider joins the circle and another member has a turn.

Bring everyone together to discuss what happened and how they felt.
Start by asking the players or the participants:
•How did you feel when you were part of the circle?
•How did you feel when you were the outsider?
•Did those who succeeded in forcing the circle feel differently from those who didn’t manage it?
•In our society, who are the strongest group and how do they preserve their statutes?
•In society, the circle may represent privileges, money, power, work or housing.
•What strategies do minority groups use to gain access to these resources?
•What strategies did the “outsider” use?
•What strategies did the people in the circle use to prevent the others from getting in?

Materials and resources: 

Papers and pens for two observers.

Notes for further use: 

AdviceIt is helpful if you give concrete instructions to the observers, such as to take note of:•What the people in the circle say among themselves or to the outsider.
•What the members of the circle do in order not to let the outsider in.
•What the outsider says.
•What the outsider does.This activity requires a lot of energy from everybody playing it. In principle, unless the relations within the group are poor, there should be no aggression.
Before starting the evaluation, it is recommended first of all to let the group comment informally on what has happened before starting the structured evaluation.

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