First empirical evidence of an identity-related societal cleavage

An international survey by the University of Münster’s Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” provides the first empirical evidence of an identity-related political cleavage of European societies that has resulted in the emergence of two entrenched camps of substantial size. “We see two distinct groups with opposing positions, which we call “Defenders’ and “Explorers'”, says psychologist Mitja Back, spokesperson of the interdisciplinary research team that conducted the most comprehensive survey of identity conflicts in Europe to date. “Who belongs to our country, who threatens whom, who is disadvantaged? Across all such questions of identity, the initial analyses of the survey reveal a new line of conflict between the two groups, which have almost diametrically opposite opinions. In debates over identity, these opinions have hardened into seemingly irreconcilable conflicts. The study could open up new avenues to tackle these conflicts.”

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