Theme I & M
We are all equal, but some are more equal
than others. We are all different, but some are more different
than others. Why?
• The identification of social success
with economic success.
• How social and economic factors
diminish or raise the possibilities of social success.
Aims of the activity
• To identify and analyse the basis
A minimum of 10 people, a maximum of 24.
• Large sheets of paper and coloured
• Pens and sheets of paper (DIN A4)
for making notes
• Tape to fix the pictures on the
1. Divide the participants into working
groups of a maximum of 6 per group. If possible there should
be an even number of groups and not more than four.
2. Tell half the groups that they are to
produce an "identikit picture" of someone who
they consider to be a "social winner" in their
society. Tell the other groups to produce an "identikit
picture" of someone who they would consider a "social
3. Tell everyone to start by listing the
characteristics of their person, for example, social-economical
level, education, profession or occupation, sex, ethnic
group, habits, leisure time activities and hobbies, ways
of dressing, opinions, ideas and values, family background,
life style, type of housing, spending habits, themes or
areas of interest, etc.
4. Now tell the groups to draw an identikit
picture of their person on a large sheet of paper. This
drawing should depict all the characteristics that they
listed. It is very important that the pictures are graphic
representations and no use is made of words. Allow 40 minutes
5. Then get the groups to exchange their
pictures, so that the groups who had to draw a "winner"
swap with those who drew a 'looser', and to interpret them.
Allow 15 minutes for this.
6. Now display all the pictures on the wall
where everyone can see them.
7. In plenary, ask each group in turn to
present their interpretation of the drawing they received.
The group who made the original drawing may not make comments
at this stage.
8. Once all the groups have presented their
interpretations, you may ask the groups who made the drawings
to give their comments if they wish to add something. Allow
30 minutes for this.
Debriefing and evaluation
Allow approximately 30 minutes for the discussion.
Ask the groups to identify and discuss the criteria by which
society attributes social success and failure. The following
questions may make the reflection and discussion easier:
• What are the main features of social
success? And those of failure?
• What are the causes, the "roots"
of success and failure? What factors determine the difference?
• Are the people represented in the
'identikit' picture' found more often in some social groups,
strata or classes than in others?
• Do people in all groups and social
sectors of society have the same equality of opportunity
to be successful?
• Who are in a more favoured, and
who are in a less favoured position?
Tips for the facilitator
Some participants may express difficulties
in drawing the "identikit-picture" because they
say they are "not good at drawing". You may encourage
them and stress that nobody is searching for a masterpiece
but rather to use a form of communication other than speech.
You should also be prepared to help by giving hints on how
the characteristics on the list may be represented graphically
In the discussion draw out the point that
if we identify social success with economic success we should
be sure to realise that the person who is successful is
not necessarily the one who achieves the greatest personal
development or experience, but only the one who manages
to accumulate or earn the most riches. There is a saying
in English: 'money isn't everything'.
You could also consider what society could
do about the social and economic factors which diminish
the possibilities of "social success", such as
educational shortcomings or marginalisation due to factors
such as the colour of the skin or belonging to a minority.
To follow on you could identify and analyse
the basis for discrimination and exclusion of people or
groups who are "different" due to their culture,
origin, sexual orientation, language etc. which mean that
from the start some social groups are at a disadvantage
compared to others.
Suggestions for follow up
Social winners may be successful in some
terms but do we think of them as heroes, people we really
look up to and admire? Who are your heroes and what qualities
do you admire in them? You might like to look at 'Personal
Alternatively, if you enjoyed interpreting
the 'identikit picture' you could try interpreting other
pictures in 'What do you see?'.
You can also take a further look at issues
of social inequality in the activity 'Take
a step forward' in Compass. It is a good method
to use if you wish to foster an understanding of the possible
consequences of belonging to certain social minorities or