Causalities of Individual Radicalisation of Reichsbürger in Germany
So-called Reichsbürger (‘citizens of the Reich [German empire]’) are not a new phenomenon in Germany. However, recent events, such as the investigation into ‘Patriotische Union’ (‘Patriotic Union’) since December 2022, the Covid-19 protest movements, and several serious acts of violence have been highlighting their increasing societal relevance. And yet, the currently existing body of knowledge is highly fragmented which hinders an in-depth analysis of this particular ideological spectrum and its followers. Interestingly, preliminary analyses suggest potentially substantial differences between the Reichsbürger following and the followers of other, better-studied extremist phenomena. This relates to, for example, demographic factors, social dynamics, and forms of organisation. As a result, existing conceptualisations of radicalisation cannot easily be transferred to Reichsbürger, which necessitates new and dedicated research into the topic.
In his dissertation, Maximilian Ruf investigates individual pathways and causalities of radicalisation of Reichsbürger in Germany based on biographical-narrative interviews. The overarching aim of the project is to generate and systematise new knowledge on Reichsbürger radicalisation and to delineate it from other radicalisation phenomena in order to identify new starting points for further research and practical development.