Carolin Hillenbrand, M.A.

Carolin Hillenbrand, M.A.

Johannisstr. 1
48143 Münster

s: caro.hillenbrand

Consultation Hours

nach Vereinbarung

Academic Profile

External Profiles

  • Research Areas

    • Politics and Religion
    • Religion and Sustainable Development
    • Research on societal / social cohesion, social capital
    • Sociology of religion, empirical research on religion
    • Empirical methods, statistical regression & multi-level analysis, survey research
    • Mixed Methods
    • International relations, development policy, Global South
    • Peace and Conflict Studies, Transitional Justice, religion and conflict/peace
    • Religion and Conspiracy Theories
  • Doctoral Thesis

    Religion, a bridge or barrier? The role of religion in social cohesion from an empirical cross-country perspective

    Prof. Dr. Detlef Pollack
    Doctoral Subject
    Targeted Doctoral Degree
    Dr. phil.
    Awarded by
    Department 06 – Education and Social Studies
    The timeless question of what holds the world, a society together, is particularly urgent in the face of current challenges such as polarization, civil wars, and state collapse. While the factor "religion" is increasingly perceived in the social sciences, there is still a need for research on the empirical analysis of different aspects of religion with regard to the cohesion of countries in a global comparative perspective. Thus, I examine the role of religion for the social cohesion of states worldwide in a multi-level empirical analysis. For that, "social cohesion" is understood as a multidimensional construct that manifests itself in socio-political relations between citizen-citizen (horizontal level) and citizen-state (vertical level). Core dimensions are social/institutional trust, inclusive social/national identification, social/institutional responsibility and social/political engagement. "Religion" is conceptualized at the individual level with the dimensions believing (intensity/content of faith), behaving (private/social religious practice) and belonging (religious affiliation). At the macro level, religious vitality, religious diversity and state-religion relations are examined. For empirically measuring these dimensions, I use data from international surveys (e.g. World Values Survey, International Social Survey Programme) and databases (e.g. World Bank, Pew Research Center, State and Religion Project by J. Fox). The results of my thesis shall make both a scientific and socio-political contribution to a highly topical field.
  • CV


    Master of Arts in Political Science (major) and "Christianity & Culture" (minor) at the Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg
    Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (major) and Catholic Theologie (minor) at the Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz
    Semester abroad at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth (South Africa)


    Cooperation with the "German Development Institute" (DIE) for the Master Thesis, Bonn
    Research Assistant at the Chair of International Relations at the Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg
    Research Associate for the Bachelor Thesis at the "German Corporation for International Cooperation" (GIZ), Eschborn
    International internship at the NGO "Masifunde Learner Development", Port Elizbaeth (South Africa)
    International internship at the GIZ (German Corporation for International Cooperation) in Lima (Peru)


    Doctoral scholarship – Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
    Promotionsstipendium – Bischöfliche Studienförderung Cusanuswerk
    Exposé-Stipendium – Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
    Jahrgangsbester Abschluß – Institut für Politische Wissenschaft, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg
    Career promotion program for women – Begabtenförderungswerke in Deutschland
    PROMOS Stipendium – Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD)
    Scholarship for studies, talent promotion program – Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
    Scholarhip for studies, talent promotion program – Cusanuswerk
    Award for the best degree at the Institute for Political Science – Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz

    External Function

    Visiting scholar at HU Berlin
  • Publications

    Books (Monographs)


    Research Articles (Journals)
    Research Article (Book Contributions)
    • Hillenbrand, Carolin; Pollack, Detlef. . „Zusammenhänge zwischen Religiosität, Verschwörungsglauben und Wissenschaftsvertrauen während der Corona-Pandemie in Deutschland.“ In Dokumente zum kirchlichen Zeitgeschehen: Kirchliches Jahrbuch 2020, herausgegeben von Gorski, Horst; Kaiser, Klaus-Dieter; Lepp, Claudia; Oelke, Harry, 95–117. München: Gütersloher Verlagshaus.

    Working Papers

  • Scientific Talks

    • Hillenbrand, Carolin (): ‘Does religion immunize against or stimulate conspiracy beliefs? The role of religiosity in conspiracy theories in the context of the Covid19 pandemic in Germany’. IV ISA Forum of Sociology (ISA ("International Sociological Association")), Online, .
    • Carolin Hillenbrand & Alexander Yendell (): „You can't serve God and the conspiracy - Relationships between religiosity and conspiracy mentality during the Corona Pandemic“. Jahrestagung des Arbeitskreises quantitative Religionsforschung 2021 „Religion und Migration“ (AqR (Arbeitskreis quantitativer Religionsforschung)), Digital, .
    • Hillenbrand, Carolin (): ‘Religion: a curse or blessing for the socio-ecological transformation? A research design for global cross-country analyses of the role of religion in ecological attitudes and behaviors’. 40. DGS Kongress "Gesellschaft unter Spannung" (Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie), Digital, .
    • Hillenbrand, Carolin (): ‘The role of citizens’ religion for the cohesion of societies from a global comparative perspective’. ECPR General Conference - Section "Religion and Politics Across Boundaries" (ECPR (European Consortium of Political Research)), Virtual, .
    • Carolin Hillenbrand (): „Religion as bridge or barrier? A cross-country multi-level analysis on the role of religion in the social cohesion of staties with varying level of democracy“. Sicherheit, Wirtschaft, Gesellschaft - Theorien und Problemfelder internationaler Politik - 14. IB-Nachwuchstagung Internationale Politik (DVWP Internationale Beziehungen Nachwuchsgruppe), Akademie für Politische Bildung Tutzing, .
    • Carolin Hillenbrand (): „Religion, contact and xenophobic attitudes in Germany“. Religion & Vorurteil (DVPW Arbeitskreis Quantitative Religionsforschung), Universität Leipzig, .
    • Carolin Hillenbrand (): ‘Citizen’s Religiosity and the Cohesion of Society’. Conference "Religiosity in East and West – Conceptual and Methodological Challenges", Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster, .