• Home

  • Studie

  • zur Startseite

    Welcome to the homepage of the research project „Support for Civil Liberties“ (CIVILIB)!

    • Project title: “Conditional support for civil liberties and preferences for domestic security policies among citizens in Germany”
    • Duration of the project: 03/2015-12/2018
    • Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)
    • Project leader: Eva-Maria Trüdinger

    September 2016: Initial results
    What the project is about:

    The main focus lies in describing and explaining the support for civil liberties by citizens in Germany, and also in studying citizens’ views on the relative importance of particular liberties. The project is trying to grasp the relevance of different motives and conditions (i.e. state of threat, source of threat, salience of arguments) for attitudes towards civil liberties.

    On this homepage you will find important information and news about the project.


    Leading questions:

    • Under which circumstances and which motives citizens would accept restrictions of civil liberties through policies of domestic security?
    • Do citizens have a perceived hierarchy within civil liberties - as in: some civil liberties receive more support than others?

    This project focusses on the following civil liberties (written down in the German constitution):

    • Personal freedom (Art. 2 (1))
    • The right to informational self-determination
    • Freedom of faith and conscience (Art. 4)
    • Freedom of assembly (Art. 8)
    • Freedom of association (Art 9)
    • Privacy of correspondence, posts and telecommunications (Art. 10)
    • Inviolability of the home (Art. 13)

    Civil rights and liberties constitute core elements of democratic systems. The extent to which they are realized give insights into the quality of democracy. However, the conditionality and situational nature of orientations towards civil liberties have rarely been examined.

    Investigating whether citizens accept restrictions of civil liberties through anti-terrorism policies (e.g. collection of personal data), the project will substantiate the conflict between liberty and security in this domain. It deals with the question of how citizens cope with clashes of (valued) principles in specific situations – for example in the event of terrorist threats. in the event of terror threat, for example.

    In particular, the project will analyze the influence of attitudes expressing an individual’s relationship with the political system on conditional support for civil liberties. It takes a closer look at ideological positions and expectations regarding the scope of government and on their interplay with psychological factors and other potential determinants of support for civil liberties.

    The conditionality of different orientations towards civil liberties is being tested systematically for the following:


    At the core of the research design is a representative telephone survey. This is an adequate method for collecting data to test different explanation models on the support of civil liberties among adults in Germany. The role of threat conditions and of value conflict situations will be analyzed with the help of an online experiment based on a national sample: