Over the last two decades, European countries have struggled with several crises (e.g., the Great Recession, the refugee crisis) which had a tremendous impact on (some) societies. Typically, these crises were accompanied by divisive public discourses that rely heavily on a sharp and moralistic us-them distinction. Especially extreme right- and left-wing parties have adopted such conflict discourses and have gained much electoral support. Against this background, this paper has two objectives. First, data from the European Quality of Life Survey from 2003 to 2016 in 27 countries are used to provide a comprehensive overview of the salience of perceived societal conflicts between seven pairs of groups between countries and across time. We find substantial differences between countries and longitudinal trend variation in the salience of perceived societal conflict. For example, in Eastern European countries more economic conflict is perceived, while in Western European countries people perceive more cultural conflict between different ethnic and religious groups. Second, multigroup confirmatory factor analyses reveal that specific perceptions of conflict are structured by an underlying general orientation, generalized conflict thinking: people’s tendency to perceive society through the lens of conflict regardless of the specificity of these groups. The measure for generalized conflict thinking is metric equivalent across a large sample of countries. This demonstrates that generalized conflict thinking can be used as a social indicator for comparative research. In the conclusion we elaborate on the implications of our findings and develop a research agenda regarding generalized conflict thinking.