Contents page 1 — “we didn’t count on” page 2 — “I advise you to read the study” On a page

read the center of society Dissolves? “Lost middle – hostile conditions” is the title of a study commissioned by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, which is massively advised into the criticism. The main author of the Bielefeld conflict researcher Andreas Zick, who accompanied the investigation for years. He was already involved in previous surveys, which have been published since 2002. He and his Co-authors measured by means of suggestive questions right-wing populist tendencies where there are none? Has weaknesses in the study of massive methodological?

THE TIME: Have you expected that your work would attract a lot of attention? That you discussed in today’s journal, in the Bild newspaper on a page would be laid out?

Andreas Zick: So we did not expect. The study tries to identify complex issues, the Bild-Zeitung, however, is entered only on attitudes to asylum seekers and the study has a “asylum-study” – what it is not. For us, it goes to the question of how stable a social center, to include all can. Here, we describe that the focus on the issue of asylum and the heated debate about the are not just problems for the stability of the center. In this respect, what is described, happens with the study.

Andreas Zick

is the Director of the Institute for interdisciplinary conflict and violence research at the University of Bielefeld.

TIME: you have measured in the study, the acceptance of conspiracy myths. Is there a connection?

zig: In the study confirm that 50 percent of the respondents: “I trust my feelings more than so-called experts.” Since the image of the enlightened society staggers. It’s us-Yes, even so: We see that the study will be used by all sorts of pages for self-presentation. Results that are not politically important to have immediately given rise to us, the researchers, questioned. This promotes a Science of hostility, the populists ultimately comes right to the benefit.

TIME: The criticism comes not only from the right, but also by Sigmar Gabriel, accused the daily mirror alarmism. Actually, the study draw a pleasing picture, the title Lost the middle was completely exaggerated, argued Gabriel. He fears that a majority of the population is deemed pathological, and to the “lost middle” is explained – just because she has a healthy skepticism about the current policy.

zig: In the study both a healthy skepticism of the respondents are visible as well as in Parts of illiberal democracy is understanding. For example, 93 percent agree with the statement: “In a democracy, Dignity and equality in the first place.” At the same time, but about a third think that democracy is more likely to rotten compromises. And 36 percent say: “In the national interest we can’t grant all the same rights.” There are contradictions visible, show The image of a stable center is misleading. These contradictions we need to analyze.

This article dates back to the TIME no 19/2019. Here you can read the entire issue.

TIME: The title of your study, sounds gloomy indeed. Is lost the middle?

zig: no, even if the title is apparently, for many, provocative. 60 percent of our respondents describe their political views as “right in the middle,” and some understand the title now, as we noted, they are lost. It’s us, but around the middle as a democratic community, which is capable of, conflicts of interests, values and identities to negotiate. The basic thesis of the study is that with an increase in anti-democratic attitudes is undermined by this type of center.

TIME: But your survey provides no evidence of an increase in erosion. Extreme right-wing views, not to take her, but. And right-wing populist settings are according to the study, “stable” – inferring that these were “in the middle of normal”. Why?

zig: a Lot of look, in our study only, if settings increase or decrease. Normalities move, but even if Stereotypes, Stigmas and devaluations are stable. We think of the ever more clearly documented Hate crimes against Jews. It is “normal”, if you are consistently high?


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