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Right-wing motivated hatred and violence in Saxony: trends, radicalisation and prevention

Research field:Extremism Research
Research focus: Politically Motivated Violence
Period: 01.2012–12.2019 (Project completed)
Coordination: Prof. Dr. Uwe Backes


One result of right-wing populist and extremist mobilisation is to shift the focus of right-wing violence from the confrontation with (actual/perceived) political opponents to hate crimes. Attacks on refugee shelters as well as the escalation of violence at demonstrations in Heidenau, Freital and elsewhere form the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface is a strategic reorientation and restructuring of the radical milieu, deserving of our greater attention.

The project researches into relatively unfathomed aspects of the right-wing hate crimes in Saxony and will serve as a knowledge base for preventive and suppressive strategies for initiatives in civil society and for internal security agencies. A triangulation of methods serves the qualitative and quantitative analysis of concentrated areas of right-wing hate-motivated violence, of the subjects and objects of such violence and of its phenomenology. At the focus of attention are the analyses of perpetrators and victims, mechanisms of right-wing mobilisation, discourses of hate and violence and processes of radicalisation occurring between 2011 and 2016. The following major results of the project are expected: regional distribution and concentrated areas of right-wing violence in Saxony as a whole and according to ‘subject areas’ (xenophobic violence, confrontational violence, etc.); concentrated areas of right-wing hate-motivated violence in Saxony; biographical profiles of the perpetrators; structures of the extreme right-wing milieu in Saxony; offender-victim interactions and circumstances of victimisation; degrees of ideologisation and radicalisation of the perpetrators; current levels of discourses legitimising violence.

Assisted by the Saxon security agencies, Uwe Backes, Sebastian Gräfe, Anna-Maria Haase, Maximilian Kreter and Sven Segelke compile and analyse data and sources (prosecutors’ criminal investigation files, media from the right-wing scene, information from the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (domestic intelligence service of the Federal Republic of Germany)). Interviews with perpetrators, victims and professional observers complete the picture of the situation.