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Authoritarianism

Authoritarianism is a concept central to understanding modern politics, as well as contemporary social life. The term authoritarian is not only used to describe political beliefs and the structure of political systems, but also individual psychological dispositions and interpersonal relationships.

The discussion of an “authoritarian character” can be traced back to Erich Fromm's Escape from Freedom. Authoritarianism was then elucidated by critical theorists of the Frankfurt School. In The Authoritarian Personality, T. W. Adorno and his colleagues attempted to explain anti-Semitism and the rise of Fascism throughout Europe in the 1940s, by combining Freudian psychoanalytic conceptions with Marxist theory. They developed the notion of the “authoritarian personality” in which one's fear and aggressiveness deriving from a specific familial socialization is a byproduct of the social structure ...

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