Radicalization in the digital age (RadigZ)

Risks, trends and strategies of prevention

Project period

15.2.2017 – 14.2.2020

Project staff

Prof. Dr. Thomas Bliesener

Dr. Dominic Kudlacek

Dr. Nadine Jukschat (project manager)

Laura-Romina Goede

Sigrid Hiller


Federal Ministry of Education and Research in the field of “Civilian Security – Aspects and Measures of Counter-Terrorism” within the program “Research for Civil Security 2012 – 2017”


Alliance partners:

  • German Police University, Institute of Criminology and Interdisciplinary Crime Prevention (DHPol – Prof. Dr. Thomas Görgen)
  • Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University of Greifswald, Department Health and Prevention (GGP – Prof. Dr. Silke Schmidt, Dr. Edzard Glitsch)
  • Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University of Greifswald, Department of Criminology, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Comparative Criminal Law and Justice (GKS – Prof. Dr. Stefan Harrendorf)
  • Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Institute of Psychology, Department of Research Synthesis, Intervention and Evaluation and Kompetenzzentrum Rechtsextremismus (“Competence Center Right-Wing Extremism”) (FSU – Prof. Dr. Andreas Beelmann)
  • Georg-August-University Göttingen, Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology (GAU) (Prof. Dr. Katrin Höffler)
  • Leibniz Universität Hannover, Department of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Criminology (LUH – Prof. Dr. Bernd-Dieter Meier)
  • University of Cologne, Institute of Criminology (IfK – Prof. Dr. Frank Neubacher M.A., Dr. Nicole Bögelein)

Associated partners:

  • Ministry of Home Affairs and Local North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Ministry of the Interior and Sports Mecklenburg, Departments II 4 and II 5 (Police and Constitutional protection)
  • National Criminal Police Office Mecklenburg
  • Ministry of Education, Science and Culture Mecklenburg
  • Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Regional Center for Civic Education Mecklenburg
  • German Congress on Crime Prevention
  • Federal Ministry of the Interior – Task Force ÖS II 2 – International terrorism and extremism
  • Lower Saxony Ministry of Interior and Sports
Project description

The objective of the joint project managed by KFN “Radicalization in the digital age – Risks, trends and strategies of prevention (RadigZ)” is to develop different prevention approaches and recommendations for action that relate to development-related radicalization processes and take special account of the threat potentials of the Internet as the central propagating medium of extremist ideologies. In addition to an in-depth analysis of the effects of internet-based propaganda as well as the identification of vulnerable groups and persons, the development of target-group-specific protection measures is the central concern of the project. This is to be achieved, in particular, by a critical analysis of existing preventive efforts as well as by prevention measures which are oriented towards radicalization processes and newly developed. The project addresses different extremist ideologies.

The main focus of KFN’s work is the identification of potential risks for radicalization among young people in Germany as well as the identification of particularly vulnerable groups. The aim is to produce robust statistical data, which show how many people are affected by radicalization processes and / or could be affected in the future. Radicalization is understood as a process within the framework of the project, which is determined by a variety of psychological and social factors. As a result, robust ratios to the extent of the threat can best be achieved by means of a quantitative multi-tasking survey. It is therefore planned to record the acceptance of ideologically founded group violence and possible authoritarian attitudes, as well as to illuminate the social environment of the interviewees. In concrete terms, students and students at various locations are to be interviewed.

In addition, KFN participates in the work centers of other partners. Within the framework of the partial project for the biographical and network analysis of (de) radicalization processes, KFN conducts biographical interviews with returnees from Syria and / or with persons who belong to the salafistic / jihadist scene and analyzes them by means of reconstructive procedures special focus on the transitions between the online and the offline world.

KFN’s participation in the subprojects of GKS and DHPol which focuses on the analysis of Internet-based propaganda and / or calls to extremist violence and criminal offenses over the Internet is also worth mentioning. The analysis of the extremist online material addressed by the project partners is deepened and completed by KFN, focusing on the visual productions in particular. Reconstructive methods are used to investigate which latent messages are mediated by means of images, videos and texts, especially in their combination, in extremist online events, and how group memberships are produced in a communicative manner in these media.