Prof. Dr. Gert Pickel

Prof. Dr. Gert Pickel


Religions- und Kirchensoziologie
Beethovenstraße 25, Room 209
04107 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97 - 35460


Prof. Dr. Gert Pickel is Professor of Sociology of Religion and Church sociology at the Institute for Practical Theology, at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Leipzig. His main focus is on the sociology of religion, democracy and political culture research. He is currently working on a German-Swiss project on the topic of religious and political collective identities as well as questions of modern populism in Europe, with a special focus on East Germany. Among other things, he is deputy spokesman of the Competence Centre for Research on Right-Wing Extremism and Democracy at the University of Leipzig, member of the Center for the Study of Religion (CSR) at the University of Leipzig, member of the advisory board of the Academy of World Religions in Hamburg and of the Hannah Arendt Institute at the TU Dresden. He leads the project network "Racism in Institutions" and is co-director of the Leipzig sub-institute of the Research Institute for Social Cohesion.

Professional career

  • since 11/2016
    Member of the steering committee of the Leibniz Science Campus Eastern Europe - Global Area
  • since 04/2015
    Member of the Structural Commission of the University of Leipzig
  • since 01/2014
  • since 01/2013
    Member of the Board of the Competence Centre for Research on Right-Wing Extremism and Democracy (KReDO)
  • since 01/2013
    Member of the Advisory Board of the Academy of World Religions (Hamburg)
  • 11/2013 - 10/2016
  • 10/2013 - 10/2016
  • 10/2012 - 12/2013
  • 10/2010 - 10/2017
    Speaker of the graduate class "Secularities: Configurations and Paths of Development" at the University of Leipzig
  • 08/2010 - 10/2013
  • 10/2009 - 10/2013
  • 02/2009
  • 04/2008
    Habilitation (PD Dr. phil. habil.) at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University Greifswald with the thesis "The Anchoring of Democracy in Eastern Europe - Status, Reasons and Consequences of Population Attitudes in the Young Democracies of Eastern Europe
  • 10/2007 - 02/2009
  • 06/2006 - 08/2006
  • 10/2004 - 08/2005
  • 10/2001 - 05/2007
  • 06/2002
  • 07/1996 - 06/2001
  • 10/1992 - 06/1996
  • 10/1992 - 06/1996


  • 06/1992
  • 06/1991
  • 10/1987 - 05/1992
  • 10/1985 - 06/1991

Panel Memberships

  • 01/2022 - 12/2024
    Director of the study "Racism as a threat to social cohesion in the context of selected social-institutional areas" (InRa study)
  • since 10/2020
    Deputy Equal Opportunities Officer of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Leipzig
  • since 08/2019
    Co-director of the Leipzig site of the Research Institute for Social Cohesion

Gert Pickel's main research areas in recent years have been national and international comparative sociology of religion as well as political sociology and political cultural research (Germany and international comparison). Within political cultural research, he is particularly interested in social capital and integration research, which includes studies on social cohesion, the spread of populism and radicalism as well as Islamophobia, and questions of social integration (also of migrants). Gert Pickel and his colleagues are currently publishing a handbook on the last point. Within the sociology of religion, Pickel deals with the empirical investigation of developments such as secularization and religious pluralization. This is expressed in two projects, in which religious identities in German-Swiss comparison and the investigation of the diversity of non-denominationalism are central. His research is theory-based and (mostly quantitative) empirical. Accordingly, publications on methods of empirical social research as well as on methods of comparative social and political science are available and thus form the tools of Pickel's work. For decades, the sociology of youth, the sociology of the family, and election and attitudes research have been the extended focus of his interest.

  • Attitudes towards the Bible and Use of the Bible and its different media and cultural forms in Germany
    Deeg, Alexander
    Duration: 01/2021 – 12/2024
    Funded by: DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Institut für Praktische Theologie; Praktische Theologie; Religions- und Kirchensoziologie
    show details
  • Societal polarization and perceived threats as drivers of radicalization and co-radicalization processes among adolescents and post-adolescents.
    Pickel, Gert
    Duration: 09/2020 – 08/2024
    Funded by: BMBF Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Religions- und Kirchensoziologie
    show details
  • Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence - "The European Union and Its Rural Periphery in East Central Europe"
    Lorenz, Astrid
    Duration: 10/2020 – 04/2024
    Funded by: EU Europäische Union
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Fakultät für Sozialwissenschaften und Philosophie; Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe)
    show details
  • Political Cultural Change? - Legitimacy of Democracy and Social Cohesion in Times of Increased Populism and Growing Rejection of Islam
    Pickel, Gert
    Duration: 06/2020 – 05/2024
    Funded by: BMBF Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe)
    show details
  • Racism putting at risk social cohesion in the social and institutional sector
    Pickel, Gert
    Duration: 10/2021 – 12/2024
    Funded by: andere Bundesministerien
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe)
    show details

more projects

  • Lauth, H.-J.; Pickel, G.; Pickel, S.
    Methoden der vergleichenden Politikwissenschaft: eine Einführung
    Wiesbaden: Springer VS. 2015.
    show details
  • Pickel, G.; Öztürk, C.
    The Varying Challenge of Islamophobia for the EU: On Anti-Muslim Resentments and Its Dividend for Right-Wing Populists and Eurosceptics – Central and Eastern Europe in a Comparative Perspective.
    In: Lorenz, A.; Anders, L. H. (Eds.)
    Illiberal Trends and Anti-EU Politics in East Central Europe. . Cham: Palgrave. 2021. pp. 57–80.
    show details
  • Öztürk, C.; Pickel, G.
    Der Antisemitismus der Anderen: Für eine differenzierte Betrachtung antisemitischer Einstellungen unter Muslim:innen in Deutschland
    Zeitschrift für Religion, Gesellschaft und Politik (ZRGP) . 2021. 6 (1).
    show details
  • Genswein, T.; Kailitz, S.; Pickel, G.; Decker, O.; Schulze Wessel, J. (Eds.)
    Sachsen zwischen Integration und Desintegration. Politisch-kulturelle Heimaten.
    Wiesbaden: Springer VS. 2021.
    show details
  • Pickel, G.; Yendell, A.
    Rechtsextreme, rechtspopulistische und fremdenfeindliche Einstellungen in Sachsen.
    In: Kailitz, S. (Ed.)
    Rechtsextremismus und Rechtspopulismus in Sachsen.. Dresden: Sächsische Landeszentrale für politische Bildung. 2021. pp. 25–36.
    show details

more publications

The main focus of teaching is the examination of various questions of the sociology of religion. In particular, the current development and situation of religion and religions in Germany and Europe is dealt with in lectures and seminars. The emphasis is on a mixture of knowledge transfer (mainly in lectures) and participation (e.g. through regular excursions to Central and Eastern Europe).

Questions are the development of religion with regard to the processes of secularization, individualization and pluralization, the examination of the relationship between religion and politics, and the discussion of current issues in which religion plays a role (e.g. euthanasia, abortion, attitudes towards Islam, anti-Semitism, positions on gender identities).

This also brings questions of group-related prejudice, racism and anti-Semitism into view. These areas, as well as experiences of racist discrimination, play a role in various courses.

In addition to questions of sociology of religion, various intercultural interrelationships and also area and country comparisons are taken into account in teaching.

All courses are open to the cultural and social sciences.

Research fields

Sociology, Politics, political science, Eastern Germany, Eastern Europe, Xenophobia, East Central Europe, Right-wing extremism, Religion, Church

Contact for media inquiries

Fax: +49 341 97-35460
Phone: +49 341 97-35463