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What makes a fascist? Are there character traits that make someone more likely to vote for the far right? The Authoritarian Personality, written in the shadow of Fascism and the Holocaust, looked to analyse the rise of Fascism in Europe through the specific psychological traits that make people prone to authoritarianism. Based on extensive empirical studies of Americans conducted by a team which included the leading member of the Frankfurt School Theodor Adorno, The Authoritarian Personality ranked a range of character traits on what it called the F scale (F for fascist). These included conventionalism, anti-intellectualism, superstition and occultism, power and toughness, destructiveness and cynicism, projectivity, and exaggerated concerns over sex. The Authoritarian Personality is not only one of the most influential works of social psychology ever written, it also marks a milestone in the development of Adorno s thought, showing him grabbling with the problem of fascism and the reasons for Europe s turn to reaction. Over half a century later and with the rise of right-wing populism and the reemergence of the far-right in recent years, this hugely influential study remains as insightful and relevant as ever.

About the Author

Theodor Adorno was director of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt from 1956 until his death in 1969. His works include In Search of Wagner; Aesthetic Theory; Negative Dialectics; and (with Max Horkheimer) Dialectic of Enlightenment and Towards a New Manifesto. Else Frenkel-Brunswik was a Polish-Austrian psychologist based at the University of California at Berkeley. Daniel J. Levinson was a psychologist, and one of the founders of the field of positive adult development. Nevitt Sanford was professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley.

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