Consensus and Conflict Department

The Consensus and Conflict Department conducts research into the causes, forms, practices and consequences of social conflicts in (post-)migrant society Migration-related diversity can, after all, lead to new dynamics of conflict, and at the same time these dynamics can change our current society, which is already shaped by migration.

Our research contributes to a better understanding of how social conflicts arise and develop – and whether and how they are resolved. We also consider what these processes mean for a pluralist democracy.
Prof. Dr. Sabrina Zajak, Head of the Consensus and Conflict Department

Main research areas

Handling conflicts constructively furthers social change and is a central element of social coexistence. Conflicts make problem areas and grievances visible so that they can be dealt with politically, and in this way they prepare the ground for establishing social consensus.

On the one hand, conflicts can help break down the stereotypes and prejudices that are dominant in the majority society. On the other hand, conflicts can also lead to new splits in society, and to the exclusion and devaluation of others. Forming a social consensus can mean drawing boundaries between one group and others. The Consensus and Conflict Department examines in particular

  • the dynamics of attitudes and discourse: diversity-related attitudes, stereotypes, prejudices and political ideologies in this diverse society
  • the changing face of discriminatory activity: forms and experiences of discrimination – including racism, sexism and classism
  • the dynamics of social mobilisation: protest and civic engagement
  • the changing face of structures of inequality: changes in institutions and regimes.


The Consensus and Conflict Department applies and combines quantitative and qualitative methods. These methods include:

  • surveys, including population surveys,
  • group-specific surveys (e.g. of those affected by an issue),
  • survey and field experiments,
  • secondary, media, discourse, network, biographical and organisational analyses, as well as analyses of social media/Big Data,
  • narrative interviews, life-course interviews and expert surveys.

Department projects

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Number of projects: 33

Department employees