Social Integration in the Absence of Elites?

Social integration in the absence of elites? Extent, causes and consequences of personal under-representation of certain subgroups of the population in the German elites (11/2018 - 01/2021)

Initial Position

At present, neither East Germans nor people with an immigrant background are present in elite
positions in the Federal Republic of Germany corresponding to their share of the population -
e.g. as federal ministers, chairwomen and -men of the boards of the largest companies, judges of
the Federal Constitutional Court or heads of the major research organizations. Previous studies
have repeatedly confirmed these results for individual sectors of society in varying degrees.
However, there is no current, cross-sector and complete coverage of this personal underrepresentation.
A comprehensive empirical analysis of causes and consequences, which could
possibly serve as a basis for political action to eliminate under-representation, is also lacking.
This is where the project starts:

Project Objectives

In addition to the systematic survey of elite positions in the various sectors of society, an
investigation will be carried out into the structural causes of the personal under-representation of
both groups. The second step is to analyze how this imbalance is perceived and assessed by the
population and what consequences this has for social integration, notion of democracy and
political culture. Finally, the results have to be disseminated into the scientific community and
political discourse.


The main research instruments and working steps are:

  • Identification of the elite positions to be surveyed and their holders
  • Standardized survey of elite biographies
  • Focus group interviews and a representative population survey for the perception and evaluation of the personal under-representation in the population
  • Individual interviews with several systematically selected elite members
  • Development of explanatory models and recommendations for action
  • Dissemination of results in cooperation with the Federal Agency for Civic Education, e.g. within the framework of a public conference

Project Funding

The project is funded by Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend.


Project Flyer

The flyer of the project you'll find here.


At an event on 26.10.20 results of the research project, cooperative between the German Center for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM), the TRAWOS Institute of the University of Zittau/Görlitz and the University of Leipzig were presented.

In addition to greetings and presentation of the results, there was also a panel discussion, including Raj Kollmorgen and Naika Foroutan.

More info about the event and the link to watch can be found here.

Contact at TRAWOS

Project Lead

Foto: Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Raj Kollmorgen
Prof. Dr. phil. habil.
Raj Kollmorgen
Fakultät Sozialwissenschaften
Campus 02826 Görlitz
Furtstraße 2
Building G I, Room 2.17
+49 3581 374-4259

Member of the Project Team

M. A. Jan Schaller


Research Associate

Susanne Lerche
Institut für Transformation, Wohnen und soziale Raumentwicklung
Campus 02826 Görlitz
Parkstraße 2
Building G VII, Room 304
+49 3581 374-4289