- Status: Laufendes Projekt
- Laufzeit: –
The network brings together existing knowledge and new findings on an interdisciplinary basis and in an exchange between science and practice. Four institutes work together for the network. It is headed by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence (IKG) at Bielefeld University. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the network for five years with 1.9 million euros.
"Across Germany, academics, politicians, and actors from civil society are working intensively on right-wing extremism - the new knowledge network is intended to become a central point of contact for them to exchange ideas and, for example, share experiences with prevention and intervention concepts," says Professor Dr Andreas Zick, Head of the IKG. The concept of knowledge networks is based on his idea.
The Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence (IKG) at Bielefeld University, the Competence Centre for Research on Right-Wing Extremism and Democracy (KreDo) at Leipzig University, the Institute for Democracy and Civil Society (IDZ) in Jena and the Institute Social Concepts (SO.CON) at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences are cooperating on Wi-REX. They are building three platforms focussing on knowledge production and exchange aspects - their topics are science, young research, and transfer.
Promoting the exchange of scientists
The Science Platform, run by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence, strengthens the networking of academic stakeholders in right-wing extremism research. This includes spaces for reflection and discussion in which researchers work on the self-critical further development of right-wing extremism research. In addition, the research field is to be systematized and research gaps identified. "I am delighted that we can now develop the knowledge network as a repository of knowledge and an instrument for excellent knowledge building in Germany," says IKG Director Professor Dr Andreas Zick. "Even though there is already a great deal of research on the topic, there is no independent field of right-wing extremism research that collects data and analyses on the phenomenon. Thanks to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research funding, existing and new findings are now being pooled and made more easily accessible to civil society."
Ensuring support for young researchers
The Young Researchers Platform aims to support and network researchers at the beginning of their careers. The Competence Centre for Research on Right-Wing Extremism and Democracy (KreDo) at Leipzig University is responsible for the platform. Many young academics researching right-wing extremism are scattered across Germany. Sometimes, they lack networking and support. By bringing together and supporting early-career researchers, the aim is to ensure that research topics on right-wing extremism and the far right are dealt with in the long term. "The aim must also be to ensure the transfer of knowledge between generations of researchers and to give new ideas access to right-wing extremism research," says Professor Dr Gert Pickel, Deputy Director of the KreDo. "It is also important to us to promote female perspectives, particularly in the male-dominated field of right-wing extremism research," says Pickel. His colleague, Professor Dr. Oliver Decker, spokesperson for the KreDo and the Else Frenkel Brunswik Institute at Leipzig University, sees an excellent opportunity to rejuvenate right-wing extremism research. "This rejuvenation must be accompanied by digital networking and public relations work."
Bringing science, civil society, and practice together
The Transfer Platform is about mutual networking and discussion between stakeholders from academia, civil society, and practice. The platform is coordinated by the Institute for Democracy and Civil Society (IDZ) Jena, sponsored by the Amadeu Antonio Foundation. The IDZ works with the Institute Social Concepts (SO.CON) at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences. Viktoria Kamuf, head of the sub-project at the IDZ, explains: "The focus of our work in the knowledge network is to combine scientific findings, practical experience, and civil society research. Our aim is to contribute to combating right-wing extremism in Germany by connecting knowledge and stakeholders." Professor Dr Beate Küpper, Deputy Director of SO.CON, says: “Civil society in the municipalities is very close to the phenomenon of right-wing extremism. This is where new developments are often first recognized and experienced as a threat - in recent years, for example, the increasing number of seemingly harmless citizens who spread anti-Semitic conspiracies and provocatively walk the streets with right-wing extremists. We want to combine these experiences with research to jointly gain insights for academia and practice.”
The Knowledge Network for Right-Wing Extremism Research will be funded from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2027. Around 555,000 of the 1.9 million euros in funding is available for Bielefeld University's sub-project. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funds the knowledge network in the funding guideline "Current and historical dynamics of right-wing extremism and racism". The ministry is thus implementing part of the measures of the Cabinet Committee on Combating Racism and Right-Wing Extremism, which was set up in March 2020 in light of the attacks in Halle and Hanau. The funding guideline also enables the Knowledge Network Racism Research (WinRa). The Faculty of Education at Bielefeld University is one of the WinRa network partners. The German Centre coordinates the network for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM). WinRa aims to network and strategically strengthen the scattered and fragmented research on racism in Germany through a research-led, interdisciplinary exchange.
- Summary of the BMBF on the new knowledge networks (in German)
- DeZIM press release on the Knowledge Network Racism Research (in German)