Key Facts

Principal Investigator:

  • Prof. Dr. Mouhanad Khorchide, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
  • Prof. Detlef Pollack, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
  • Dr. Olaf Müller, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
  • Prof. Levent Tezcan, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Research assistant:

  • Dr. Özkan Ezli
  • Dr. Sarah Kabogan
  • Dr. Evelyn Bokler

Duration: 03/2021 - 03/2025

Ressentiment as an affective basis for radicalization (Ressentiment)

The role of the formation of a culture-relevant affect of inferiority and resentment among Muslims in radicalization processes

The research project is interested in the cultural ground on which Islamist radicalization can flourish and find resonance. It explores how perceptions of inferiority and ressentiment among Muslims are linked to processes of radicalization. 'Ressentiment' in this context refers to the consolidation of a sense of grievance that emphasizes negative social experiences and devalues improvements in the situation. The project focuses on resentment that arises from polarization between population groups along ethnic and religious demarcations. Negative experiences such as discrimination in everyday life are detached from their pragmatic factual context by ressentiments and gain a momentum of their own that is more or less resistant to positive experiences. In order to identify what characterizes ressentiment and its consequences, the project also investigates ressentiment-free perceptions of self and others. For this purpose, minorities as well as other parts of the population are included.

The project has both a quantitative and a qualitative component. First, a representative survey will be conducted to determine the extent and prevalence of socially, religiously, and politically charged ressentiments among Muslim migrants living in Germany. Second, it is planned to analyze the goals and organizational structure of Muslim institutions, with a focus on patterns of perception and attitudes cultivated in these milieus, for example toward the non-Muslim environment. In doing so, groups with stronger and less pronounced ressentiments will be contrasted in order to highlight differences in how discrimination is perceived and processed.

Film "Project Ressentiment" | Duration 1"52' | Production Ute Seitz // Shaimaa Abdellah | PRIF 2024


The "Ressentiment" project deals with the question of how perceptions of inferiority and resentment among Muslims are linked to processes of radicalisation. In an interview with RADIS, Prof Mouhanad Khorchide, Prof Levent Tezcan and PD Dr Özkan Ezli describe their approach to the project and initial findings from their research. They explain the significance of resentments for society and provide recommendations for action for religious institutions and politics. Read more.