Research Institute for Social Cohesion (Forschungsinstitut Gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt/FGZ)

Social cohesion is regarded as a basic precondition for the functioning of democratic societies. A comprehensive scientific examination of the structures and perceptions of social belonging can point the way to solutions.

Viele Menschen auf der Straße; © gettyimages/Classen Rafael / EyeEm

gettyimages/Classen Rafael / EyeEm

What constitutes social cohesion and what frictions endanger it? What can be done if population groups do not see themselves as a part of society, feel marginalised, or no longer support the existing political system? In order to find answers to these questions, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting the establishment of the "FGZ - Research Institute for Social Cohesion".

The FGZ brings together different perspectives and expertise, for example in the following research areas: Polarization and populism, identities and regional experiences, media and conflict culture, as well as anti-Semitism and hate crime. The aim is to encourage research on social cohesion and to develop practical proposals.

At the eleven locations of the decentralised institute, researchers from different disciplines analyse current developments that are relevant to social cohesion, as well as their historical roots. The FGZ is coordinated by the universities of Bremen, Frankfurt and Leipzig. The Technical University of Berlin, the universities of Bielefeld, Halle-Wittenberg, Hanover, Constance and Leipzig as well as the Sociological Research Institute Göttingen, the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research Hamburg and the Institute for Democracy and Civil Society Jena are also involved in it.

The funding guideline for the establishment of the institute (Federal Gazette of November 8, 2017) was published by the BMBF in November 2017. The call for the establishment of such an institute is based on a decision by the German Bundestag, which has made 40 million euros available for the first funding phase (06/2020 - 05/2024). The BMBF holds out the prospect of an extension for a further five years; the aim is to anchor the institute in the scientific landscape in the long term.

Central tasks and goals of the Research Institute for Social Cohesion

  • Identification and interdisciplinary analysis of current social trends and developments relevant to social cohesion, as well as their historical roots.

  • Bringing together and further developing existing knowledge, especially on problematic aspects of social cohesion.

  • Investigation and operationalisation of the concept of "social cohesion" with the aim of developing an overarching concept and meaningful indicators.

  • Exchange and development of cooperative relations with civil society and political-administrative practice.

  • Political and social consultation measures.