Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld

Institute for
Interdisciplinary Research
on Conflict and Violence

Disintegration Processes - Strengthening the Integration Potential of Modern Society (Research network)

Short Description
Both ideologies of inequality and the accompanying hateful violence have emerged strongly in recent decades, in Germany and elsewhere. In many cases, right-wing extremism and xenophobia have gained legitimacy by falling back on moods, views, and attitudes in the population and have been supported by thoughtless remarks by politicians. In Germany, certain groups and parties are now in a position to employ violence in particular situations, spontaneously, or strategically, in order to gain illegitimate and destructive power over people, social spaces, and institutions. Although this does not endanger the existence of the democratic system, it does create a climate of fear and insecurity in everyday life. This hateful violence and the purely repressive, frequently overhasty and poorly thought out responses by government raise questions as to the quality of political culture, the "democratic atmosphere" and the requirements and conditions for securing a humane and liberal republic. Questions concerning the integration potentials of modern societies thus belong at the top of the sociopolitical agenda. The goal of the research carried out in this research network was to contribute important knowledge on integration problems in modern societies and to get to the bottom of developments whose negative consequences endanger central normative elements at the heart of this society, in particular the equality of human beings and non-violence. The identification of problematic developments and the description and explanation of factors that help to strengthen integration potentials were dealt with at different levels and in different parts of the project. More in-depth analysis was undertaken of processes that generate fears and/or experiences of disintegration and a breakdown in recognition, and which result in individual or collective "reactions" that lead to ideas of ethnic homogeneity, national unity, the exclusion of aliens, reintegration into violent peer groups, etc. and which hold destructive potentials for society and democracy. The individual projects were grouped around three main sets of issues:

I. Long
- term and current structural problems (macro level):
- (P 1) Social change and violent crime Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Helmut Thome, Halle
- (P 2) Precarious employment Project Manager: PD Dr. Klaus Dörre, Recklinghausen

II. Groups of actors and contexts (meso level): a) Interpretation, control, and mobilization actors
- (P 3) Business elites and social responsibility Project Managers: Prof. Dr. Dieter Rucht, Berlin; PD Dr. Peter Imbusch, Bielefeld
- (P 4) Negative classifications Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Sieghard Neckel, Frankfurt am Main.
- (P 5) Conflicts between groups Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Roland Eckert, Trier
- (P 6) The effects of repression on right- wing extremist groups Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Michael Minkenberg, Frankfurt (Oder) b) Institutional and sociospatial opportunity structures
- (P 7) Representation and political integration in the fragmented city Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Harmut Häußermann, Berlin
- (P 8) Zones of fear in the new states of Eastern Germany Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Werner Bergmann, Berlin
- (P 9) Recognition processes in schools Project Managers: Prof. Dr. Werner Helsper, Halle; Prof. Dr. Heinz-Herrmann Krüger, Halle
- (P 10) Ethnic conflicts in prisons Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kühnel, Berlin
- (P 11) Integration and assimilation in soccer Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Soeffner, Konstanz c) Disintegrating mobilization potentials
- (P 12) Eastward expansion of the EU and upsurges in right-wing extremist mobilization Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Klaus Boehnke, Bremen
- (P 13) Anti-Islamic sentiment Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Rainer Dollase, Bielefeld

III. Individual learning processes and behavioral patterns (micro level)
- (P 14) The extent and causes of ethnic discrimination and xenophobic violence Project Manager: PD Dr. Helmut Willems, Trier; Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Heitmeyer, Bielefeld
- (P 15) Victims of right-wing extremist violence Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Andreas W. Böttger, Hannover
- (P 16) Recognition of moral norms Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Nunner-Winkler, Munich
- (P 17) Processes of entering and leaving the skinhead scene Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Kurt Möller, Esslingen

The research network's findings were presented in May 2005 at a national conference in Karlsruhe attended by practitioners in the field and in June 2005 to an academic audience at an international conference in Bielefeld. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften is publishing the individual project findings in a special series initiated in 2005.

Herr Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Heitmeyer
Cooperation Partners
Institut für interdisziplinäre Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF