Protest and Radicalization in the Face of Current Crises

PRIF researchers and Hessian State Agency for Civic Education (HLZ) develop new FAQ

Radicalization as Graffiti

Photo: Christoph Scholz/Flickr (edited) | CC BY-SA 2.0

Covid pandemic, climate crisis, the Russian war of aggression, inflation and energy crisis: Many crises at once are un­settling in these months. The promise of security and pros­perity, which has been quite stable for a long time, is beginning to falter. It is not yet clear how Ger­many and the world will get through these crises.

On the streets, people are voicing their dis­pleasure; there is talk of a “hot fall” or a “raging winter”. On one side, trade unions and left-wing social move­ments are active; on the other, the energy protests of the extreme right seam­lessly follow their mobili­zations against the state's Corona policies. Protest itself is legitimate, but especially in the protests of the far right anti-democratic ten­dencies are very clearly evident.

Demo­cracy and social cohesion are funda­mentally challenged: What do we know about the current polari­zation and stabili­zation ten­dencies in our society? Where do the lines run between legiti­mate protest and dubious mobili­zation by extremist groups? How much radical­ism is impor­tant for our society and what do we know about radi­cali­zation processes? What role does social media play in these dynamics? What is the state of prevention, democracy promotion and political education efforts in Germany?

In order to provide orien­tation in this situation, the Hessian State Agency for Civic Education (HLZ), in co­operation with PRIF researchers Hande Abay Gaspar, Julian Junk and Daniel Mullis, has compiled answers to these questions. Although the answers refer to current events, they focus on the prepa­ration of broader social science know­ledge in order to help form opinions and provide an intro­duction to complex social science contexts.

You can find the FAQ here (German).