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Leuphana cultural sociologist investigates the "Reichsbürger" scene

2022-10-14 Funding success in the Pro*Niedersachsen programme

Lüneburg. In her current research project "Alltag im Dissens: Eine Studie zum Gebrauch (imaginären) Rechts von Reichsbürger:innen" (Everyday Life in Dissent: A Study of the Use of (Imaginary) Law by so-called “Reichsbürger”), cultural sociologist Prof. Dr. Andrea Kretschmann from the Leuphana University Lüneburg is investigating the role of law as a medium for political intervention. She focuses on politically right-wing subcultures, especially the group of so-called "Reichsbürger". These are an organisationally and ideologically very heterogeneous scene, for whom the Federal Republic of Germany is not a legitimate and sovereign state and who reject its legal system.

A special feature of Reichsbürger is to cite laws, treaties and legal precedents as supposed evidence for their position and to invent pseudo-legal symbols and instruments. The forms and social significance of such politically motivated use of law have not yet been researched. Kretschmann wants to close this gap and use the example of the Reichsbürger to examine the special relationship between law and politics, as it has also been shown for example in the Corona protest movements, in more detail by means of participant observation.

In this context, the researcher asks how and why the medium of law functions as a means of political meaning and interpretation of the world for such groups. In this respect, the project will not only make a contribution to the phenomenon of Reichsbürger, but also explore the question of what role law plays for quasi-political disputes of legal laypersons in contemporary society.

The project will start at the beginning of next year and will be funded for a period of three years by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Science and Culture from the Pro*Niedersachsen programme with a good 350,000 euros. A total of 55 applications were submitted for the last round of funding and reviewed by experts. 25 projects were selected for funding.