Local conflicts around migration

Consensus and Conflict Department

Project head: Prof. Dr. Sabrina Zajak

Project coordination: Dr. Moritz SommerDr. Elias Steinhilper

Project team members: Marina Seddig

Running time January 2021 until April 2023
Status Completed project

The politicisation and polarisation of (civil) society in Germany has visibly increased in the course of the debates on immigration in the recent past. As a key indicator of societal conflicts, the study of protest dynamics is of central importance for a deeper understanding of these dynamics. However, systematic knowledge about protest characteristics and dynamics in Germany is patchy, especially at the local level. This is where the research project "Local Conflicts over Migration" comes in. It builds on the previous project on "Conflicts over Social Participation", in which systematic analyses of local conflicts were conducted for two pilot cities. In the continuation, a database on conflicts over migration and protest events in 12-16 medium-sized German cities will be established. This will create a data basis that will enable a systematic analysis and thus quantifying and comparative statements about the characteristics and dynamics of local protest in the context of the topic of migration.

The content-related objectives include, firstly, a reliable gain in knowledge for fundamental questions in relation to migration-related protest:

  • What significance does the topic of migration have in local protests? How does the proportion of migration-related protests change over time?
  • Do local protest dynamics show an increasing polarisation of (civil) society? How does the relationship between protests for and against a liberal migration policy develop? Is there a dynamic of escalation of protests around migration?
  • What differences in the dynamics of conflict can be seen in a comparison of cities?

Secondly, taking into account socio-structural and demographic characteristics, political and discursive opportunity structures as well as other local contextual factors, protest patterns will be explained and hypotheses from conflict and protest research will be tested:

  • What influence do the local political context and the economic situation have on conflicts over migration?
  • What influence do migration-related diversity and the influx of refugees have on local conflicts over migration?
  • What influence do the local organisation of refugee accommodation (centralised vs. decentralised) and the presence of initial reception facilities have on local conflicts over migration?

In order to make an additional contribution to the networking of the research landscape in the field of local conflicts over migration, the project is creating an ongoing mapping of current research projects on the topic and making it available to the public in digital form.

Funding: Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Institutional funding)

Cooperation partner:

The project complements and cooperates with research projects at the institutes of the DeZIM Research Communits (DeZIM-FG): The focus on the local context complements a project at the WZB that traces national protest dynamics and ties in with the Prodat project. The focus on medium-sized cities and the topic of migration complements an ongoing project at the Research Institute for Social Cohesion (FGZ), which is investigating protest dynamics in general in four large German cities. By coordinating the survey instrument with these two projects with the participation of institutes from the DeZIM-FG, comparisons of the data are possible. In the standardisation and automation of the protest event analysis, the project cooperates with a network of researchers, among others from institutes of the DeZIM-FG (WZB, IKG). In the development of a public tool for protest data visualisation, the project cooperates with the above-mentioned project at the FGZ.