The long-term study is conducted by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence at the University of Bielefeld and headed by the sociologist Prof. Heitmeyer. The study analyses trends in prejudices against certain vulnerable groups of people in Germany. Changes over time and the impact of political events on prejudices and on the public opinion can be illustrated by the survey.
The annual report of the study shows that anti-Semitism, homophobia and sexism decreased since 2002, whereas islamophobia remained at a high level. More and more people avoid living in neighbourhoods with a high proportion of Muslims. Almost half of the respondents agree that Germany is at risk of foreign “infiltration”. Another critical development is seen in the acceptance and disposition of violence, especially from the right wing spectrum.
In general, popular discontent and insecurity has increased over the years. This trend has been reinforced by the economic crisis and many respondents fear social decline in the future. 75 % of the respondents share the opinion, that the thread to the living standard affects solidarity with more vulnerable groups of people. One third thinks that due to the economic crisis it is no more possible to concede the same rights to everyone. Almost two thirds of the respondents claim that too many weak groups need to be supported in Germany.
The results show that norms such as equity, solidarity and fairness are not strongly supported by the centre of society.
The study concludes that in case that equity among people is not any more considered as a basic principle by the majority, hostility against specific groups is likely to increase.