Theme I & M
So you want to feel what it means to be part
of the majority or the minority?
This is an energetic activity
• Majority/minority relationships
• The social and political mechanisms
which divide society
• To experience being part of a majority
group and being in the minority
• To analyse the strategies we use
to be accepted by the majority group
• To be aware of when we like to
be part of the majority and when we like to be apart or
in the minority.
6 - 8 people per circle.
• Paper and pens for the observers
• Watch or timer
1. Divide the group into subgroups of 6
to 8 people.
2. Ask each group to choose one person to
be the 'observer' and a second to be the 'outsider'
3. Tell the other members of the group to
stand shoulder to shoulder to form as tight a circle as
possible so as not to leave any space between them.
4. Explain that the 'outsider' must try
to get into the circle while those who form the circle must
try to keep them out.
5. Tell the observer makes notes on the
strategies used both by the 'outsider' and those in the
circle and also acts as timekeeper.
After two or three minutes, and regardless
of whether they managed to enter the circle or not, 'outsider'
joins the circle and another member has a turn.
The activity is over once all the members
of the group who wish to have tried to 'force the circle'.
Debriefing and evaluation
Bring everyone together to discuss what
happened, and how they felt.
Start by asking the players:
• How did you feel when you were
part of the circle?
• How did you feel when you were
• Do those who succeeded in 'forcing
the circle' feel differently from those who didn't manage
Ask the observers:
• What strategies did the 'outsider'
• What strategies did the people
in the circle use to prevent the others from getting in?
Then ask everybody:
• In real life situations, when do
you like to feel an 'outsider' or a minority and when do
you appreciate feeling part of the group or the majority?
• In our society, who are the strongest
groups? And who are the weakest?
• In society, the circle may represent
privileges, money, power, work or housing.
• What strategies do minority groups
use to gain access to these resources?
• How do the majority preserve their
Tips for the facilitator
It 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.
If there are enough people to play with
several circles you can, at the very beginning, ask each
group to give themselves a name. This will reinforce the
feeling of group identity. You can then play so that the
outsider always comes from a different group. At the end
of each round the 'outsider' should return to their original
group whether or not they 'force the circle'. This may also
stress the feeling of loneliness when being the 'outsider'.
Suggestions for follow up
Suggest the participants say how they could
be more aware of their own behaviour and when they may,
without wanting to, exclude others from the 'group'. For
example, are there representatives from all sections of
the local community involved in local groups, clubs, societies
or organisations? Could they join if they wanted to? What
stops them? What would encourage them to join? Decide what
action you could take to ensure the opportunity to participate
is open to everyone.
Having looked at the mechanisms of exclusion
and questioned the basis on which we exclude people who
are different you might like to try the activity 'Dominoes'
to strengthen the group feeling and to explore the characteristics
which we share as human beings or look at 'Seeking
similarities and discovering diversity' to explore how
each one of us is a mixture of characteristics which we
share with some people but not with all and to celebrate
Keeping people out of the "circle",
for instance exclusion from school through bullying, from
jobs through unfair application or interview procedures,
or from social clubs through discriminatory rules, are all
expressions of violence. You may like to consider these,
and other unfair practices, and seek solutions to the problems
with the help of the activity, 'Power
station' in Compass.
It is often easier to think of examples
of discrimination that exclude people who stand on the outside
of circles, circles that represent schools, jobs, social
clubs for example. But there are also real life situations
where people in the circle wish to escape, for example women
trapped in a family circle. If the group wishes to explore
such issues they may like to do the activity, 'Domestic
affairs' in Compass. The activity is based on three
case studies of violence against women.