Meet the Cluster Community: Anselm Fliethmann

1. Why are you interested in studying Inequality?

Inequalities, which are also perceived as such, prevent us from getting on well with each other in our society in many ways - they often promote envy, resentment and social conflicts. In my research, I try to understand when inequalities are perceived as injustice and, in particular, how politicians unconsciously cause or even consciously promote such perceptions through their statements. How do politicians frame refugees to advocate for specific support services? What interpretive frames of refugees do politicians invoke to prevent other benefits? With my research, I help to perceive this framing and become aware of it in our own evaluation of a situation. In my opinion, an enlightened understanding of political communication is essential for a healthy democratic discourse. I see this as the mission and purpose of my work.

2. What are you working on? 

Which refugees "deserve" our help? Why, for example, did many people in Germany in 2016 think that Syrian war refugees should be helped rather than displaced people from eastern Ukraine? How has the perspective changed compared to today and why?

3. How did you end up here?

I, too, am a Constance native and to this day believe that I would not have had such a good education paired with excellent opportunities abroad at any other university. After my master's degree, I was dissatisfied with the prospect that I would now have to store all the techniques and methods of scientific work I had learned in a box in the basement. It was very fortunate for me that the position in my research project presented itself at that moment, and that I perceived inequality research as a meaningful research question I wanted to explore.

4. Recent highlight? 

In my studies, I often felt that working with research data was more of a exercise with no concrete relevance. Now, from contact with colleagues, I came across data from a survey on perceptions of refugees in 2016. To be able to use this data to track real perspectives on refugees, and thus to be one of few people right now to better comprehend this piece of reality, is really a crazy feeling. I look forward to hopefully publishing this knowledge soon and thus being able to share it further.

5. Dream research project?

I'll leave the dreaming to the more creative souls for now ;)

Anselm Fliethmann is a Doctoral Researcher at the Cluster of Excellence "Politics of Inequality" and the Chair of International Relations. His dissertation project is part of the Cluster project "Framing Inequalities". Anselm's research interests include political communication, violent conflict and religion and conflict.