ELSE-FRENKEL-BRUNSWIK-INSTITUTE for Democracy Research in Saxony

Universität Leipzig
Ritterstraße 26

POSTFACH-NR.: 348003

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Research Program

Researching attitudes hostile to democracy

Research at the Else Frenkel Brunswik Institute (EFBI) is composed of three fields: attitude research, research in conflict spaces and documentation of anti-democratic networks.

EFBI supports Saxon civil society with its research. To this end, it pursues the goal of researching all forms of hostility to democracy and informing Saxon society about authoritarian and anti-democratic issues, their dissemination and organization, as well as anti-democratic movements. The research is based on three complementary fields.


The research is based on population-representative surveys, which are conducted on a regular basis. For this purpose, EFBI researchers link up with the Leipzig Authoritarianism Studies, a nationwide attitude survey conducted every two years, for which Oliver Decker, the director of EFBI, and the social psychologist Elmar Brähler have been responsible since 2002. In this way, statements on the prevalence and manifestation of anti-democratic attitudes in Saxony are offered on a representative basis, and they can also be interpreted in comparison with the Federal Republic as a whole. Further analyses for the Free State will thus be possible. In addition, the team will draw on existing and planned surveys (e.g., Sachsenmonitor, Allbus, NEPS, ESS).


EFBI focuses on social space-oriented, participatory research with an activating emphasis. This means that civil society actors from Saxony are involved as experts in their everyday lives in the formulation of the research question and that the findings obtained are tested in a communicative validation with them. The goal is to investigate the conditions of democratic political action, to analyze authoritarian mobilization strategies, to understand the emergence and socio-psychological function of anti-modern ideologies, and to increase the ability of local democratic initiatives to act. The research in selected conflict spaces therefore ties in with existing civil society structures, and in some cases with existing research.


The monitoring and documentation of anti-democratically motivated incidents represents an essential pillar of the Else Frenkel Brunswik Institute's research activities. Among other things, the monitoring refers to the digital space. The aim is to observe and record right-wing extremist networks and structures on the Internet. The focus is on social media activities of right-wing individuals and groups from Saxony. The social media monitoring is carried out by the Amadeu Antonio Foundation (AAS) on behalf of EFBI.

In addition, mobilizations and networks are monitored throughout the state, for example the far-right music scene, the martial arts scene or local neo-Nazi structures. Information from civil society is pooled for this purpose. In coordination with other existing structures and documentation systems, information on racist, anti-Semitic and misogynist incidents is collected and correlated. The information gained from monitoring and documentation is made available to local decision-makers, initiatives and the general public.

Here you can find an overview of the projects at the Else Frenkel Brunswik Institute.