Authoritarianism Study: Aggressive attitudes are on the rise

Authoritarianism Study
Aggressive attitudes are increasing, according to the study

Between March and May 2022, 2,522 people nationwide were interviewed for the study “Authoritarian Dynamics in Uncertain Times”.

According to a study, right-wing extremist attitudes are on the decline in Germany. At the same time, hatred of migrants, Jews, Muslims, Sinti and Roma is growing. These are the main results of the eleventh study on authoritarianism by the University of Leipzig, which was presented in Berlin on Wednesday.

The strengthening of the executive during the corona pandemic has led to greater satisfaction with democracy, said the social psychologist Oliver Decker, who led the study. At the same time, the restrictions have increased the feeling of one’s own political ineffectiveness and “authoritarian aggression” against individual groups. In addition, a return to traditional gender roles can be observed in the crisis. The determined “fragmentation of society” refers to a high willingness to polarize, it said.

Between March and May 2022, 2,522 people were interviewed nationwide for the study “Authoritarian Dynamics in Uncertain Times”, 535 of them in eastern Germany. The study was co-financed by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is close to the Greens, and the Otto Brenner Foundation of the Metallurgical Union.

According to this, the proportion of people who are satisfied with the constitutional democracy in East Germany has risen from 65 percent in 2020 to the current 90 percent. Nationwide, it receives 82 percent approval. But only half of those surveyed agreed with everyday democratic practice, says Decker. The high level of satisfaction with the form of government and the executive branch, which has been strengthened by the pandemic, apparently goes hand in hand with the feeling of not having any political influence.

According to the authors, this “authoritarian security” comes at a price. The feelings of powerlessness and the restrictions on one’s own life are accepted, but also lead to an increase in aggression. “That’s why the neo-NS ideology and with it elements of right-wing extremist attitudes have lost importance,” says co-study leader Elmar Brähler. According to the study, only two percent of East Germans still have a closed right-wing extremist world view, in 2020 it was still ten percent. But now other anti-democratic motives would come to the fore: “These are prejudices, hatred of ‘others’.”

The rejection of Muslims in East Germany has increased compared to 2020: 46.6 percent agree with the statement “Muslims should be prohibited from immigrating to Germany”, in West Germany it is 23.6 percent. Sinti and Roma are rejected by 54.9 percent of East Germans and 23.6 percent of West Germans. With regard to anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, almost half of those surveyed in Germany agree with statements about so-called “defense anti-Semitism”. This is the most common expression of anti-Semitism.

Approval for anti-feminist statements has also increased: 27 percent of respondents believe that women “who go too far with their demands should not be surprised if they are put back in their place”.


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