About the institute
Democracy Research in Saxony
The Else Frenkel-Brunswik Institute (EFBI), located at Leipzig University, researches and documents antidemocratic attitudes, structures, and aspirations in Saxony and, based on this research, advises actors within civil society and politics.
The Else Frenkel-Brunswik Institute was founded in the fall of 2020 to support democratically engaged civil society in Saxony. Democratic initiatives in Saxony have been facing a variety of problems, including insufficient funding as well as attacks and threats from the extreme right. At the same time, there remains a lack of common, up-to-date knowledge about the threat neo-Nazis, conspiracy ideologues, and antifeminists pose to democracy.
The goal of the work undertaken at EFBI is to counteract this situation by identifying gaps in knowledge about antidemocratic attitudes, structures, and aspirations in Saxony and by closing them through research. The knowledge gained in this process is specifically prepared and made available by the researchers to civil society groups.
The research undertaken at the institute focuses on various forms of discrimination as well as the strategies and dynamics of antidemocratic and authoritarian-motivated alliances. EFBI’s research fields include attitudinal research, research in conflict spaces, and the monitoring and documentation of antidemocratic structures and social media activities.
STRENGTHENING CIVIL SOCIETY
Another goal of EFBI is to involve civil society actors and institutions in the institute’s social space–oriented, participatory research. EFBI also aspires to actively contribute to the networking of civil society actors.
In addition to participatory research, EFBI offers targeted psychosocial consulting for municipalities and groups active in civil society. The aim is to increase their capacity to better respond to the challenges posed not only by violent individuals in particular but also by antidemocratic attitudes among the population.
DISSEMINATING KNOWLEDGE TO THE PUBLIC
EFBI regularly reports on its findings in self-published publications, including an annual report, regular policy papers, and a newsletter. In addition, information about institute events and publications are made available through various media channels to inform the general public about the work and to initiate debates. The EFBI researchers are happy to make their expertise available to the media.
LOCATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LEIPZIG
EFBI was founded as an independent research unit and is administratively affiliated with the Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe). Funded by the Free State of Saxony, the institute is headed by the nationally renowned social researcher Oliver Decker, who has been since 2002 in charge of the study project “Leipzig Studies on Authoritarianism in Germany” (“Leipzig Authoritarianism Studies”), which surveys right-wing extremist attitudes in the country.