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14. Februar 2024

Cluster-Seminar Öffentliche Finanzen und Lebenslagen

The Church of Resistance – Religion and Protests in an Autocracy


14. Februar 2024
11:00 bis 12:00 Uhr


Karl Popper Room
DIW Berlin
Room 2.3.020
Mohrenstr. 58
10117 Berlin


Max Deter, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg

Mass protests have long been recognized as effective political actions, particularly in autocratic regimes where they serve as a potent tool for opposition movements. This paper examines the case of East Germany, specifically the Peaceful Revolution of 1989, which stands out as a rare example where protests successfully contributed to the democratization of an autocracy. The study focuses on the role of the Protestant Church in East Germany and investigates whether it supported or hindered the occurrence of protests. Our analysis explores the relationship between church membership rates, pastoral connections within the Church, and the frequency of protests. Preliminary findings indicate a positive association between church membership rates and protests as well as pastor connections and protests. This paper contributes to our understanding of the dynamics between religious institutions, networks, social movements, and political change, shedding light on the factors that facilitate or impede successful opposition movements in autocratic contexts.


Mia Teschner
Mia Teschner

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin in der Abteilung Staat