Political and Religious Extremism: Measuring and Explaining Explicit and Implicit Attitudes

Research question/goal: 

While there is already a lot of research on right-wing populist parties and populist attitudes, there is surprisingly little research on political and religious extremism that not only rejects the liberal forms of democracy as populists do, but democracy altogether. Such extremist attitudes can be found among the political right and left, but also religious groups who claim that religious rules are more relevant than the constitutions in their countries. The first aim of this project is to develop for the first time a survey-based instrument that allows us to measure the similarities and differences between the various forms of political and religious extremism. Given the problem of social desirability bias in this field we also propose for the first time to measure implicit extremist attitudes by means of an Implicit Association Test. Thus, we can investigate (1) how to conceptualize and measure extremism attitudinally and assess the potential of left-wing, right-wing as well as Christian and Muslim religious extremism among the public. The second aim is to compare explanatory factors of extremist views and to analyse how different forms of extremism can be explained by similar or diverging factors. Therefore, we can assess (2) how causes and consequences of these extremisms relate to each other. Finally, the third aim is to study the relationship between these extremist groups as well as between extremists and non-extremists. This allows us to investigate (3) how extremists are perceived by others and to what extent the tensions that exist between political parties are reflected at the individual level and thus constitute social tensions that become relevant in daily life. To test our arguments two surveys will be conducted in Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain with 1’500 natives and 500 Muslims.

Fact sheet

Funding: 
DFG
Duration: 
2020 to 2023
Status: 
ongoing
Data Sources: 
Surveys
Geographic Space: 
Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands

Publications