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WP 2: Radicalization vs. Cohesion

The Working Package (WP2) Radicalization vs. Cohesion deals with the central role of trust in times of European crises. Previous studies have shown that social, interpersonal and political trust impact democracy as well as social cohesion within a political system. To entirely capture the concept of political trust in times of Europe-wide crises trust is used as an independent and dependent variable in the studies of WP2. Moreover, research questions on interpersonal as well as transnational solidarity will be examined. 

By studying political trust as a dependent construct in our analyses, we want to shed light on the question if the European Sovereign Debt crisis as well as the Migration Crisis had a sustainable effect on trust and in which way their influencing factors manifest themselves. How did the two crises influence trust in national and European institutions? Do the crises threaten social cohesion and democracy in Europe? Can we identify differences between European regions?

In addition, WP2 investigates the effects of crises-induced changes on political values, political attitudes and political behavior, in addition to examining how this transition interconnects with political trust. Over that course the increasing radicalization of European societies will be analyzed. Therefore, populist attitudes, voting behavior and protest movements represent the research focus. Did a decrease in political trust foster the rise of populist groups? Which kind of trust is of particular importance for changing political landscapes?

Besides those analyzes on political trust aspects of interpersonal solidarity will be looked at. This is especially of high interest regarding the link of radically-right motivated criminal acts and the many solidarity actions of European citizens towards refugees coming to the continent in times of the migration crisis.

In the last step, the development of transnational solidarity in countries of the European Union during multiple European crises will be examined. For this, transnational solidarity’s effect on Euroscepticism is measured. 

The designated target of the Working Package Radicalization vs. Cohesion is to elaborate studies in a Europe-wide comparative perspective together with focusing on the case of Germany. For this purpose national and international survey programs serve as the data base and are completed by economic and demographic macro data. Subsequent to this project, the data base will be made available to the public.

Lead: Prof. Dr. Alexia Katsanidou; Dr. Christina Eder 
Associate: Ann-Kathrin Reinl

Institute: GESIS