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German Right-Wing Extremism and Right-Wing Populism: Conceptual Foundations

Explorative studies in two German Federal States addressed the question of whether the far right has an influence on social work and, if so, how. After an introduction to the topic (1 and 2), a brief outline of regional contexts (3) and the methodological approach of both studies (4), overall results are presented (5) and central categories are described in greater detail (6.1–6.3). In the final section (7), consequences for social work are discussed. The results show that influences can be found across all fields of social work and the regions examined in Germany. The far right’s own social offers instrumentalise charitable activities for political messages and organised educational offers within closed scenes exist with great continuity. Attempts to exert external influence have increased, especially by political actors, and in some cases have a drastic character that even extend to massive threats and physical attacks. Finally, the results also point to shifts within professional social work. They are reflected in anti-democratic and inhumane practices as well as concrete exclusions. The results point to the need to make far-right influences visible and to find institutional responses that effectively counter the attacks.
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