Research of Prof. Sigrid Roßteutscher, PhD

The Rural-Urban Divide in Europe (RUDE)

Rising populism and polarization, coupled with declining democratic legitimacy, all point toward a crisis in European democracies. This crisis has a regional dimension: a political and perhaps cultural divide between rural and urban areas. The project examines whether and how urban-rural residency is related to divides in legitimacy beliefs, social identities, perceptions of injustice and threat, political and social attitudes and political behavior of European citizens. It explores “Democratic governance in a turbulent age” from different thematic angles. First, it deals with shifting identities and their consequences for democratic governance and political representation. Stable cleavages only emerge when struggles for identity are accompanied by perceptions of social inequality and unfair resource distribution. Second, it examines the role played by globalization: increasing rural-urban economic divides create social status threats which exacerbate rural-urban political divides. The project will combine a broad comparative study of all European countries with an in-depth analysis of five established European democracies. The project will result in the provision of significant new evidence on rural-urban disparities in European politics, which will allow us to examine the consequences of – and cures for – the current crisis of democracy, thereby engaging both academic and policymaking audiences.

This project is part of the NORFACE Research Programme on “Democratic Governance in a Turbulent Age”.

International cooperation partners are: Christopher Claassen, University of Glasgow, UK; Markus Freitag, University of Bern, Switzerland; Guillem Rico, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain; Sonja Zmerli, Université Grenoble Alpes, France

Project Leader: Prof. Sigrid Roßteutscher, PhD together with Jun.-Prof. Dr. Kathrin Ackermann (University of Heidelberg) and Prof. Dr. Richard Traunmüller (University of Mannheim)

Project staff: Dr. Sascha GöbelAntonia Lang, M. A.

Duration: 1.1.2021–31.12.2023

The project “The Rural-Urban Divide in Europe (RUDE)” is financially supported by the NORFACE Joint Research Programme on Democratic Governance in a Turbulent Age and co-funded by DFG and the European Commission through Horizon 2020 under grant agreement No 822166.

Funding: NORFACE/Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)

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The Role of Internalised Efficacy Beliefs for Participation in Education and Political Life

Due to processes of social change, particularly in terms of educational expansion and mass migration, not only can a general increase in higher secondary education be observed in recent decades, but also a reconfiguration of social origin, immigrant background and positioning in the German education system: more young people of a low social origin or with an immigrant background are in higher secondary schools. However, this also results in more status inconsistencies, e.g., for adolescents from high-SES families with less successful school careers, or for students with an immigrant background who perform very well. In this project, we investigate how such contradictory influences in the family and in school affect adolescents’ efficacy beliefs at different levels (personal, group, system), i.e. their belief regarding what they can achieve as an individual, as a member of a particular social group and within a certain social system. We consider schools to be crucial in this respect, since adolescents not only spend a lot of time at school during a very formative phase of their lives, but also because they have their first experiences with a social institution and its representatives (the teachers) there and learn how they and their group are treated in this system. We assume that these experiences are not only influential for efficacy beliefs in the domain of education but are also generalized to other social subsystems such as politics and therefore also affect individuals’ behavior in various areas of life. Concretely, we examine 1.) how an advantaged vs. disadvantaged family background (operationalized by social origin and immigrant background) interacts with a successful (or less successful) educational career in shaping adolescents’ efficacy beliefs in the educational domain, 2.) whether and how these efficacy beliefs developed in school are transmitted to the domain of politics and 3.) how these efficacy beliefs impact actual behavior (i.e. educational decisions and political participation).

We examine these questions by combining our own data collection (as part of the RISS Internalization Survey) with the analysis of existing panel data. Research questions 1 and 2 are examined using the data from the RISS Internalization Survey, where we plan an online survey of around 3,000 15-17-year-old adolescents with new and innovative measures of efficacy beliefs. The implementation of efficacy beliefs in later behavior (Research Question 3) is examined both by using secondary data analyses and a panel-design aimed at re-interviewing our respondents after completion of secondary education and – depending on migration status – the acquisition of full citizenship rights.

Project Leaders: Prof. Dr. Birgit Becker, Prof. Sigrid Roßteutscher, PhD

Project staff: Dr. Susanne Garritzmann

Duration: 1.10.2021–30.09.2025

Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)

This project is part of the DFG Research Group RISS / FOR 5173. More information on RISS

Job opportunity as a pre-doctoral researcher in this project

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The Impact of Social Structure, Discrimination and Violence on the German Muslim Community

Despite extensive research over the past decade, Muslims’ strong preservation of religious traditions remains an unsolved puzzle in Western European immigration societies. A dominant explanation of religious identity is the discrimination or exclusion of Muslim immigrants by the majority population. However, beyond the often individually experienced discrimination in everyday situations, Muslim individuals are subject to a more severe and increasingly visible form of xenophobia: violence and acts of terror, which explicitly target Muslims indiscriminately. Moreover, radical Islamic terror organizations try to fuel this vicious cycle. Caught between a faction of radicalized Muslims as well as hostile, Islamophobic elements of the majority population, secular segments of the Muslim population are in an awkward position, where they feel resentment and pressure from different sides.

Surprisingly, however, we have very little empirical research on how this two-pronged threat of violence affects Muslims in Germany. The proposed research project addresses core questions within this research gap: How does religiously motivated violence alter religious identity? How does identity, discrimination and violence affect civic or political behavior? And how do these reactions vary with the social position which individuals occupy? After all, social mobility has fundamentally altered and diversified German society, including the largest Muslim-origin immigrant group, the Turkish guestworker communities. Today, many Muslim-origin immigrants of all generations hold a wide range of positions in politics, economy and society, with the result that religion cross-cuts many other dimensions which are potentially relevant to individuals’ social identity.

We build on the theoretical framework of the overarching RISS research and expand it by illuminating how exogenous events, such as Islamist and anti-Muslim violence, perturb the association between social structure, identity and behavior.

The proposed project examines these questions using an original survey of German Muslims, which we will collect as part of the RISS Internalization Survey. We rely on innovative measurement strategy using a conjoint experiment to estimate the importance of religion within individuals’ multidimensional social identity. Furthermore, our proposed empirical analysis uses an experimental design to evaluate how social identity as well as political preferences and behavior are linked to perceptions of violence and discrimination.

Project Leaders: Prof. Sigrid Roßteutscher, PhD, Prof. Dr. Constantin Ruhe, Prof. Dr. Richard Traunmüller (University of Mannheim)

Duration: 1.10.2021–30.09.2025

Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)

This project is part of the DFG Research Group RISS / FOR 5173. More information on RISS

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Value Conflict, Labour Division and Social Cohesion from a Gender Perspective

Gender is an important factor in achieving social cohesion. Gender relations, however, have been particularly affected by social change in recent decades. As a result, across Europe, various work-care models currently compete in terms of family and labour market policy. Related to this, both egalitarian and essentialist gender ideologies and family ideals have spread, whose social-structural foundations and consequences have not yet been researched. Against this background, this research project assesses first, whether the competing gender and family ideals are related to other values such as cultural openness or closure, solidarity and voting behaviour. Second, we ask whether the political mobilisation of gender issues by political parties leads to the establishment of a new political polarisation and how this relates to other cultural and socio-economic cleavages. Third, the project examines the determinants and consequences of different forms of labour division within families for the reproduction of social inequalities.

Project Leaders: Prof. Dr. Daniela GrunowProf. Sigrid Roßteutscher, PhD

Project staff: Dr. Mirko K. BraackMelanie Dietz, M.A.

Duration: 01.03.2021–28.02.2023

Funding: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF, Federal Ministry of Education and Research)

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German Longitudinal Election Study – GLES

General Information

As part of their “long-term funding Humanities”, the German Research Foundation is promoting the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES). This project examines the 2009, 2013 and 2017 parliamentary elections. Since the beginning of the 21st century, a profound change in the German political process can be observed which affects voters, parties, their candidates, as well as their election campaigns, and not least, the mass media. Together, they have led to a considerable increase in the fluidity and instability of the electoral process, with potentially far-reaching implications for representative democracy in Germany. Looking at the Bundestag elections in 2009, 2013 and 2017, the GLES aims to investigate how today’s more mobile electorate responds to the challenges of this new, very complex constellation of electoral politics.

Three of the nine components of this study, the most extensive German election study to date, are implemented at the University of Frankfurt under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Sigrid Roßteutscher: Pre-election Cross-Section, Online-Tracking/State Elections-Boosts and Long-term Media Agenda Analysis. The German National Election Study is a cooperative project and was initiated by Prof. Dr. Hans Rattinger (University of Mannheim), Prof. Dr. Sigrid Roßteutscher (Goethe University Frankfurt), Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck (University of Mannheim) and Bernhard Weßels (Social Science Center of Berlin, WZB). At present, the project is managed by Prof. Dr. Sigrid Roßteutscher, Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck (University of Mannheim), Prof. Dr. Harald Schoen (Mannheim Centre of European Social Research), Prof. Dr. Bernhard Weßels (Social Science Center of Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Christof Wolf (GESIS). This project originally emerged from an initiative led by the German Society for Electoral Studies (DGfW).

Being the most ambitious research program in German electoral research, the project generates and analyzes a comprehensive and integrated database which is available at GESIS. It is seen as an important contribution towards improving the infrastructure of high-quality programs within social science data collection in Germany. All data is treated as a public good and is made immediately accessible for interested social scientists.

For further information on GLES, please visit the official website of the project.
Project period: 1/2009–12/2021

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