Logo: The Term Progress in Different Cultures
Logos: GIZ, Goethe-Institut

The Term Progress in Different Cultures

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Ortschritt

Special issue of 'politikorange'
Jugendpresse Deutschland (German Youth Press)

Initial: N

o, it's not a typo. The special issue of 'politikorange' dealing with progress (or Fortschritt in German) is entitled 'Ortschritt' (derived at once from Fortschritt or progress and Ort, or locality, place) – with good reason. If progress is really to bring about a change for the better it must be anchored at local level, at a specific place for a specific purpose, at a specific point in time or only for a specific section of society or indeed for individuals.

The assessment of progress depends not only on the standpoint of the observer. Whether or not promised progress is doable can only be established in retrospect, because an effort to move forwards can move in the desired direction or can equally move backwards, or indeed in both directions at once. Progress is the term used to define the difference between the present and the past. The result can be positive or negative or can cancel itself out. Progress is a two-edged sword.

This special issue of 'politikorange' has taken up the gauntlet of attempting to define progress. Young people in particular pursue progress from a wide variety of vantage points. There is good reason for their fascination. Everything that is today deemed to be progress will automatically affect the lives of young people to a far greater extent than it will impact on older people, although it is they who largely decide today what is deemed good or bad for tomorrow, what is superfluous and what is expedient, what should be encouraged or discouraged.

The idea for this issue came from the cooperative project 'The concept of progress in different cultures' conducted by GIZ and the Goethe-Institut. Our editorial team came together spontaneously in response to an online invitation under jugendpresse.de. Within four days the issue was hammered out in Berlin by a very mixed team who enjoyed exploring the concept of progress at a journalistic, literary or photographic level. The 'F' in 'Fortschritt' or progress was the first thing to fall, leaving only 'Ortschritt'. But, as I said at the start, there is good reason for leaving it like that.

Holger Kulick
Editorial team of 'politikorange'
Jugendpresse Deutschland


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'Ortschritt'
Special issue of 'politikorange' (German Youth Press)

Survey 'What is progress?'

Zeitschrift für KulturAustausch:
What sort of progress do we want?

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'Ortschritt'
(German, 2.6 MB)

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'Ortschritt' was developed in the context of the conference in Germany.

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Box: Photo series