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Political scientist awarded Kassel Democracy Impulse
The five-member jury honored Johannes Hillje's doctoral dissertation "The Construction of Collective Identity in the AfD's Social Media Communication" for using its own empirical analysis of digital content to work out what communicative strategy the party is pursuing and how it uses digital media to bind voters to itself. According to the jury, the innovative and methodologically sophisticated study sets standards and, thanks to its reference to social reality and its good comprehensibility, is suitable for providing impulses to society and politics. The study was published this fall under the title "Das 'Wir' der AfD - Kommunikation und kollektive Identität im Rechtspopulismus" by Campus-Verlag.
Hillje studied political science and journalism at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz until 2011. He then earned a master's degree in "Politics and Communication" at the London School of Economics and Political Science before completing his doctorate in political science at the University of Kassel under Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schroeder with the now awarded thesis. He works as an independent political and communications consultant for ministries, political parties, members of parliament, companies and associations in Berlin.
Johannes Hillje shares the award, which comes with 3,000 euros in prize money, with Denise Dismer and John Amoateng-Kantara, who were honored for their SpiegelTV documentary "The Power of Prejudice. Consciously unlearning racism". A special prize, awarded for the first time, went to Hessisch Niedersächsische Allgemeine (HNA).
A total of 46 scientific and journalistic works were submitted to this year's competition, dealing primarily with the topics of right-wing extremism, racism, exclusion and xenophobia.
Background to the "Kassel Democracy Impulse"
Since 2020, the city of Kassel has been honoring outstanding scientific as well as in-depth, analytical journalistic work that addresses racism, exclusion, xenophobia and violence in society and deals in particular with right-wing extremism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism with the "Kassel Democracy Impulse" award.
The jury consists of: Prof. Barbara John, ombudswoman of the German government for the bereaved families of the NSU victims; her collaborator Taha Kahya; Hans Eichel, former German finance minister, prime minister of Hesse and mayor of Kassel; PD Dr. Steffen Kailitz, political scientist and extremism researcher at the Hannah Arendt Institute for Research on Totalitarianism in Dresden; and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schroeder, political scientist at the University of Kassel and the Social Science Research Center Berlin, Democracy and Democratization.
Dr. Andreas Gebhardt
University of Kassel
Communications, Press and Public Relations
Phone: +49 561 804-1961