Political Socialization

Group leader
Political Socialization
Specific themes and goals

For more than three decades, Klaus Boehnke and his research teams at the Free University of Berlin (1986-1993), Chemnitz University of Technology (1993-2002), and Constructor University (since 2002) have been working on different angles of the ‘political lives’ of citizens. Boehnke is the principal investigator of the worldwide longest-running active panel study on life trajectories of adolescent sympathizers and activists of the peace movement in the mid-1980s. That study has seen 11 waves of data gathering, and participants are currently in their early 50s. Boehnke has always adopted a cross-cultural comparative approach, looking at political and civil-society engagement in a multitude of countries. This has also made him an expert in methods of cross-cultural psychology. In recent years, topics like the intergenerational transmission of values (“Under which circumstances do children have the same value preferences and worldviews as the parent generation?”), and societal cohesion have moved to the forefront of Boehnke’s research agenda. For Bertelsmann Stiftung, Boehnke’s team has developed a conceptual model and measurement approach for the assessment of the social cohesion in different-level geopolitical entities — neighborhoods, communities, federal states, or countries — around the globe.

Highlights and impact
  • Early in 2017, Boehnke was asked to become the Deputy Director of the Center for Sociocultural Research at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow alongside his Jacobs professorship. He did, however, cut his ties with HSE in February 2022 upon Russia’s military attack on Ukraine, upholding individual cooperation with Russian academics.
  • Boehnke and his team completed their study on Attachment to Heimat for the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community. The study led to a contract with Oxford University Press to publish a book titled Heimat — A Safe Haven in a Globalized World?
  • Together with Professor Jan Lorenz, Boehnke is principle investigator (PI) of a four-country study entitled ‘ToRealSim: Towards realistic computational models of social influence dynamics’, funded by —among others— Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).
  • Boehnke is one of nine PIs of DFG Research Training Group (RTG) 2513 “Social Dynamics of the Self” (SELF), which has been established at the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS), an institution of doctoral education, jointly run by Constructor University and the University of Bremen.
  • In 2019, Boehnke received the Fukuhara Award from the International Council of Psychologists and in 2022, he received the Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology from the American Psychological Association.
Group composition & projects/funding

In 2019-2022, Boehnke’s research team consisted of two postdoctoral fellows and two to three PhD students at Constructor University and one part-time postdoctoral researcher at HSE in Moscow (until Boehnke suspended his HSE affiliation). His team has been funded by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community, as well as from the internal funds of HSE and of Constructor University. For 10 years, Boehnke has been Vice Dean of BIGSSS, funded through the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal Government and the Länder, and he has also been able to draw upon research input from various BIGSSS fellows.

Selected publications
  • Adedeji, A., Olonisakin, T. T., Buchcik, J., Metzner, F., Tsabedze, W., Boehnke, K., & Idemudia, E. S. (2023). The multicultural conceptualisation of well-being. The role of culture and circumstance in operationalising well-being in South Africa: A mixed-methods approach. BMC Public Health, 23, 2041. https://doi.org/10.1186/ s12889-023-16966-0 
  • Shahi, H., Hall, S. S., Amraei, K., Ghasemi, A., Karami, J., Sadeghi, S., & Boehnke, K. (2023). Do personality andattachment predict marital beliefs? Investigating young adults in Iran. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, online first. https://doi.org/ 10.1177/02654075231202940 
  • Lacko, D., Horák, F., Klicperová-Baker, M., Šerek, J., & Boehnke, K. (2023). Perceived legitimacy of antipandemic measures: Findings from west and East Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. https://doi. org/10.1037/law0000395 
  • Delhey, J., Dragolov, G. & Boehnke, K. (2023). Social cohesion in international comparison: A review of key measures and findings. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11577-023- 00891-6 
  • Boehnke, K. (2022). Let’s compare apples and oranges! A plea to demystify measurement equivalence. American Psychologist, 77(9), 1160–1168. https://doi.org/10.1037/ amp0001080