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THE AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY. Adorno. Identifier Identifier-arkark:// tpc The Authoritarian Personality is a sociology book by Theodor W. Adorno, Else .. Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. Introduction to The Authoritarian Personality / imposes a graver threat to our traditional values and institutions than does fascism, and that knowledge of the.

Brown indicated that if children were treated strictly by authority figures or parents, they would probably hold hostile and aggressive tendencies toward authority figures. Since these inner psychological conflicts could not be expressed explicitly, they had to be transformed into socially acceptable forms through defense mechanisms. As a result, hostility and aggressiveness toward authority would be transformed into authoritarian personality syndromes. A recent cross-cultural study found that children's authoritarian disposition was fostered by authoritarian parenting Kornyeyeva and Boehnke, The theory has been challenged and modified many times Altemeyer, ; Funke, ; Oesterreich, , and keeps evolving Duckitt, As Duckitt indicates, in the beginning, it was defined as a set of personality dimensions or a personality structure composed of psychological syndromes.

Subsequently, it was regarded as a set of social attitudes or ideologies right-wing authoritarianism, RWA. Recently, authoritarianism was further defined as the response patterns toward external threats. Among the various modifications, the conceptualization of RWA and its measures are perhaps the most investigated. Authoritarianism was reduced to three components: authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, and conventionalism Altemeyer, It was used to predict political attitudes and behaviors, for example, American Whites' prejudice toward African Americans Whitley, The gap between Western theory and chinese life world Western psychological theories represent the scientific micro-world constructed and developed based on the life world of Western cultures.

From the perspective of constructive realism, there is always a gap between micro-world and life world Hwang, b. Furthermore, life worlds across different cultures are quite divergent. As a result, if we use theories constructed based on the Western life world to explain Chinese psychological character and behaviors, there will not only be a gap, but rather an unbridgeable gap. This gap may also lead to the alienation between the local people and the discipline of psychology in non-Western cultures.

Based on sociology of knowledge, any theories in social science are bound by socio-cultural contexts Hamilton, ; Yang, The conceptualization of the authoritarian personality was greatly affected by Jewish left-wing intellectuals Shih, As researches progressed, the authoritarian personality was found to reflect right-wing authoritarianism instead of being neutral Altemeyer, In short, the authoritarian personality was developed under specific social, cultural and historical contexts, and was also closely related to the ideologies of Western political development.

Although the authoritarian personality is constantly evolving, it reflects an imposed etic approach for understanding Chinese people's tendency to respect and obey authorities, incompatible with Chinese cultural tradition.

However, this assumption cannot be applied to Chinese culture based on relationalism Ho, ; Hwang, a. Chinese relationalism particularly emphasizes role ethics originating from relational proximity and hierarchy Chuang, ; Hwang, a. Thus, in Chinese societies, social interactions in vertical relationships entail special cultural meanings Hwang, , that is, role ethics in dyadic relationships. Most importantly, this is where the authoritarian personality cannot apply. In sum, the authoritarian personality is not an appropriate conceptualization to understand Chinese people's interactions with authorities.

Calling for an indigenous theoretical model As cultural influences have increasingly been highlighted in psychology, the assertion that psychological theories from North America are universal has been challenged. Currently, many psychologists claim that North American psychology is culture bound and is based on the assumption of individualism; as such, it can be said to be the indigenous psychology of North America Yang, ; Allwood and Berry, In order to reflect cultural influences, cross-cultural psychologists have developed various cultural dimensions to locate different societies around the world.

Chinese culture is regarded as characterized by vertical collectivism Triandis and Gelfand, and high power distance Hofstede, Under such an approach, Chinese people's psychological characteristics can be understood only if they are described in contrast to Americans Hwang, a.

Some indigenous dimensions, such as hierarchical interdependence Bond and Hwang, , authority-directed Lew, , and hierarchical relationalism Liu, are used to refer to Chinese culture by Chinese psychologists. For Adorno, pseudoconservatives sense a fundamental truth: employers, not elected leaders, are the authorities in charge of our everyday lives.

They do not see this as a problem in and of itself, to be fixed by improving democratic structures. They may rail against the King, in other words, but never the Crown. Such a perspective is particularly useful to interpreting the political right in the United States, with its close relationship to capitalism. Popular Front antifascism of the s clearly informs The Authoritarian Personality, though the work also reflects the evolving nature of antifascist thought in the s.

One continuity with the s was its premise that capitalism ultimately determines whether the authoritarian personality will have a chance to violently assert itself.

The book was also quite well received by reviewers in both academic and popular periodicals, its success inspiring a flood of studies on the political right within the academy. This wave culminated in the collection The New American Right in expanded and re-published as The Radical Right in , in which future neoconservatives Daniel Bell and Nathan Glazer, as well as David Riesman, also drew upon the experience of fascism as a way of explaining the American right.

Hope for the Cure The Authoritarian Personality does have real limitations. For instance, people of color may also be high scorers on the F Scale susceptibility to fascism , yet the authors have little explanation for why these very same people of color tend not to support reactionary politics.

As will be seen. Familiarity breeds contempt. Max Horkheimer Paris: Felix Alcan. Ernst Simmel New York: International Universities Press. Anti-Semitism within American Labor: A Report to the Jewish Labor Committee. FORM 78 2. The modern church.

Too many people today are living in an unnatural.

Adorno, Theodor W. - Studies in the Authoritarian Personality

It is only natural and right that women be restricted in certain ways in which men have more freedom. It is more than a remarkable coincidence that Japan had an earthquake on Pearl Harbor Day. A Social Disease. After we finish off the Germans and Japs. Although many people may scoff. America is getting so far from the true American way of life that force may be necessary to restore it. December 7. Institute of Social Research.

Studies in Philosophy and Social Science 9 One should avoid doing things in public which appear wrong to others. Studies in Anti-Semitism: A Report to the American Jewish Committee.

Reports of atrocities in Europe have been greatly exaggerated for propaganda purposes. Sciences like chemistry. Today everything is unstable. Every person should have a deep faith in some supernatural force higher than himself to which he gives total allegiance and whose decisions he does not question. No matter how they act on the surface.

One of the main values of progressive education is that it gives the child great freedom in expressing those natural impulses and desires so often frowned upon by conventional middle-class society.

There is too much emphasis in college on intellectual and theoret- Soziologische Schriften II. He is. It is essential for learning or effective work that our teachers or bosses outline in detail what is to be done and exactly how to go about it.

There are some activities so flagrantly un-American that.

Homosexuality is a particularly rotten form of delinquency and ought to be severely punished. Novels or stories that tell about what people think and feel are more interesting than those which contain mainly action. Although leisure is a fine thing. The sexual orgies of the old Greeks and Romans are nursery school stuff compared to some of the goings-on in this country today.

It is entirely possible that this series of wars and conflicts will be ended once and for all by a world-destroying earthquake. Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn. After the war. No insult to our honor should ever go unpunished. What a man does is not so important so long as he does it well.

Human nature being what it is. Which of the following are the most important for a person to have or to be? Mark X the three most important. There are some things too intimate or personal to talk about even with one's closest friends. Books and movies ought not to deal so much with the sordid and seamy side of life. Sex crimes. Nowadays when so many different kinds of people move around so much and mix together so freely. What this country needs is fewer laws and agencies.

Studies in the Authoritarian Personality To a greater extent than most people realize. No sane. When you come right down to it. This interpretation was supported by results from the E and PEC scales.

Power and "toughness. These variables are listed below. Authoritarian aggression. Authoritarian submission. The belief in mystical determinants of the individual's fate. The disposition to believe that wild and dangerous things go on in the world. Each was regarded as a more or less central trend in the person which. Opposition to the subjective. Rigid adherence to conventional. One might say.

Destructiveness and cynicism. This does not imply that all. Superstition and stereotypy. Exaggerated concern with sexual "goings-on. In the same way. Generalized hostility. Tendency to be on the lookout for. There is too much emphasis in colleges on intellectual and theoretical topics. It will be noted. Conventionalism The variables of the scale may be discussed in more detail. It will be noted also that different variables are represented by different numbers of items.

As each variable is introduced. In order efficiently to cover a wide area it was necessary to formulate items that were maximally rich. This follows from our approach to scale construction. It is to be emphasized that one can speak of personality here only to the extent that the coherence of the scale items can be better explained on the ground of an inner structure than on the ground of external association. This is for the reason that the scale was designed with first attention to the whole pattern into which the variables fitted.

The correlation between conventional values and prejudice seemed to be positive but not very high. Many of the early findings of the present study.

It seemed that. If the adherence to. Items referring to the holding of conventional values were included in order to gather data bearing on this hypothesis. The conventionalistic individual could in good conscience follow the dictates of the external agency wherever they might lead him and. The same standards which render the individual easily offended by what he conceives to be the morally loose behavior of unassimilated minority group members or of "lower-class" people.

The scale items listed under Conventionalism afford the subject an opportunity to reveal whether or not his adherence to conventional values is of the rigid. In other words. It is this latter state of affairs that we wish to call conventionalism. One of the main values of progressive education is that it gives the child great freedom in expressing those natural impulses and desires so often frowned upon. Authoritarian Submission Submission to authority.

He is indeed contemptible who does not feel an undying love. Direct references to dictatorship and political figures were avoided for the most part. Erick H. The immediate connection of this attitude with ethnocentrism has been suggested in earlier chapters: The attempt was made to formulate the items in such a way that agreement with them would indicate not merely a realistic. George B. Wolfe [New York: Orgone Institute Press. Arthur H.

It seems clear that authoritarian submission by itself contributes largely to the antidemocratic potential by rendering the individual particularly receptive to manipulation by the Inc. Studies in the Authoritarian Personality strongest external powers. Erikson "Hitler's Imagery and German Youth. It was considered that here.

Chisholm "The Reestablishment of Peacetime Society. Authoritarian submission was conceived of as a very general attitude that would be evoked in relation to a variety of authority figures. Theodore P. Maslow "The Authoritarian Character Structure. Another hypothesis was that authoritarian submission was commonly a way of handling ambivalent feelings toward authority figures: This would be indicated.

The individual who has been forced to give up basic pleasures and to live under a system of rigid restraints. It has been suggested before that this mechanism might lie behind the ethnocentric rejection. Since in this circumstance a wide variety of stimuli can tempt the individual and so arouse his anxiety fear of punishment. As the emotional life which this person regards as proper and a part of himself is likely to be very limited.

Authoritarian Aggression 6. It is to be expected. And this displacement of negative imagery is not the only way in which the repressed hostility is handled. Studies in the Authoritarian Personality Readiness to condemn other people on moral grounds may have still another source: This mechanism is superficially similar to but essentially different from a process that has often been referred to as "scapegoating.

This is a further device for countering his own inhibited. He must do so because he is psychologically unable to attack ingroup authorities. If his external authorities. Once the individual has convinced himself that there are people who ought to be punished.

While it is granted that this process has a role in hostility against minority groups. If this theory is correct. One might say that in authoritarian aggression. Projectivity as a variable is dealt with more fully below..

The most essential feature of this structure is a lack of integration between the moral agencies by which the subject lives and the rest of his personality. There is some reason to believe that a failure in superego Soziologische Schriften II. Whether or not this is so. It is a function of the ego to make peace with conscience. One might say that the conscience or superego is incompletely integrated with the self or ego.

When this synthesis is not achieved. Weakness in the ego is expressed in the inability to build up a consistent and enduring set of moral values within the personality. It is the ego that governs the relations between self and outer world. We should expect that. Although conventionalism and authoritarianism might thus be regarded as signs of ego weakness. Anti-intraception The following three variables deal with these phenomena.

Ego weakness would. Studies in the Authoritarian Personality an imaginative. Where such outside agencies are depended upon for moral decisions one may say that the conscience is externalized. Intraception is a term introduced by Murray5 to stand for "the dominance of feelings. There are some things too intimate or personal to talk about even with one's closest friends.. Explorations in Personality New York: Oxford University Press.

Out of touch with large areas of his own inner life. An important feature of the Nazi program. This general attitude easily leads to a devaluation of the human and an overevaluation of the physical object. The extremely anti-intraceptive individual is afraid of thinking about human phenomena because he might. Superstition and Stereotypy 2. It seems fairly clear.

He is therefore against "prying. These dispositions can be understood. A question that must be raised concerns the relations of these trends to general intelligence. It might be hypothesized that one reason why people in modern society even those who are otherwise "intelligent" or "informed" resort to primitive.

Probably superstition and stereotypy tend to go with low intelligence. Stereotypy is a form of obtuseness particularly in psychological and social matters. This variable refers. It must. It seemed necessary.

Superstitiousness indicates a tendency to shift responsibility from within the individual onto outside forces beyond one's control.

Power and "Toughness" 9. The relations of ego and impulse. The underlying hypothesis is that overdisplay of toughness may reflect not only the weakness of the ego but also the magnitude of the task it has to perform. Closely related to the phenomenon of exaggerated toughness is something which might be described as a "power complex. An individual who thinks of most human relations in such terms as strong versus weak is likely to apply these categories in his thinking.

One solution which such an individual often achieves is that of alignment with power figures.

It appears that he also admires power in others and is inclined to submit to it. The individual whom we expected to score high on this cluster readily identifies himself with the "little people. He hopes that by submitting to power he can participate in it. We should expect that both leaders and followers will score high on this variable.

In short. It appears that he wants to get power. The power complex has immediate relations with certain Studies in the Authoritarian Personality aspects of ethnocentrism. Destructiveness and Cynicism 3. As we have seen. Other items dealt with contempt for mankind. It goes without saying that such undifferentiated aggressiveness could easily. The present variable. The supposition was that a subject could express this tendency by agreeing with statements which though thoroughly aggressive were couched in such terms as to avoid his moral censorship.

Still another guiding conception was that a person can most freely express aggression when he believes that everybody is doing it and.

It was assumed. Undoubtedly this is a very serviceable device for the individual. Projectivity If an individual insists that someone has hostile designs on him. Projection is thus a device for keeping id drives ego-alien. If the antidemocratic individual is disposed to see in the outer world impulses which are suppressed in himself.

The subject's tendency to project is utilized. Sex The mechanism of projection was mentioned in connection with Studies in the Authoritarian Personality authoritarian aggression: A notorious example is Father [Charles Edward] Coughlin's referring to anti-Semitism as a "defense mechanism. Which of these variables are most basic must be determined by clinical study.

The present variable is conceived of as ego-alien sexuality. The three items pertaining to the punishment of homosexuals and of sex criminals and to the existence of sex orgies may. There were several principles. A readiness to believe in "sex orgies" may be an indication of a general tendency to distort reality through projection.

For purposes of analysis. In any case. This is an example of the close interaction of all the present variables. A strong inclination to punish violators of sex mores homosexuals.

A second rule in item formulation was that each item should achieve a proper balance between irrationality and objective truth. This in many cases was a highly subtle matter.

The latter two items. Since each item contained an element of objective truth or rational justification. From this point of view. The item's worth to the scale would have to be judged mainly in terms of its discriminatory power. If a statement was so "wild" that very few people would agree with it.

Each item had to have some degree of rational appeal. The mean reliability of.

Items It might be said that. Except in the case of negative items. While it was granted that different individuals might give the same response to a given item for different reasons. These groups were described in Chapter III. Table 2 VII gives the reliability coefficients. It had to do its part in covering the diverse personality trends that entered into the broad pattern which the scale purported to measure. The question was whether by revision of the scale it might be possible to attain the degree of reliability that characterizes the E scale.

Studies in the Authoritarian Personality the F scale. It may be Soziologische Schriften II. Adequate explanation would require data from a larger sample of men and from an improved F scale. Public Speaking Class Men. There appears to be no ready explanation for the low reliability found in the case of the Public Speaking Men. Since these women are considerably older. It may be noted that the Professional Women show considerably more consistency than do the other groups of subjects.

Public Speaking Class Women. Examination of Table 2 VII shows that there are no extremely high and no extremely low scores in any of the groups and that the obtained means are near the neutral point. This circumstance lowered "range of talent" would tend to lower the reliability.

Group D: Professional Women. On the other hand. Group B: Group C: Group A: The relatively narrow distribution of scores - narrow as compared with those obtained from the other scales - may be in part a result of lack of consistency within the scale: Extension Psychology Class Women.

P-A-S is simply the difference between the mean score of the high A-S quartile on that item and the mean score of the low A- S quartile on the item.

The D. As with the other scales. P F'S order of merit. As is to be expected. P F plus the D. P A-S. Sixteen D. The F scale correlated. Yet it indicates that. Table 3 VII gives for each item the mean score. This final rank order was a convenient index of the item's statistical "goodness" for our over-all purpose..

The average D-P-F. Since it was intended that the F scale should not only have internal consistency but should also correlate highly with overt prejudice. The means are.

DO most of the items with high D.

In general. Are there some variables which simply do not belong to the pattern we are considering?

Three of the clusters. Astrology 2. We may now inquire what it is that distinguishes the items which turned out well statistically from those that turned out poorly.

Women restricted 2. AsCD P. Can any general statements be made about each of these two groups of items that can serve as guides in the formulation of new items? The first question concerns the nine groups of items chosen to represent the variables that entered into the conceptualization of F.

Force to preserve 3. Authoritarian Aggression. Red-blooded life 3. In deciding whether to retain an item for use in a revised scale most weight was given to the D. F and to the general principles guiding our scale construction. Since it is the total F pattern that we expect to correlate with A-S and E. One should avoid 3. Homosexuals 3.

Novels or stories 3. Emphasis in college 3. For one reason 2. Familiarity 3. Sciences like chemistry 4. F is based on the difference between the high quartile and the low quartile on the F scale distribution.

Things unstable 5. Honor 3 00 2. Sex orgies 3. Law in own hands 2. Reports of atrocities 4. In obtaining the over-all means. Modern church 4. Undying love 3.

Essential for learning 3. Rats germs 4. Pearl Harbor Day 2. Tireless leaders 5. Always war 4. AS of 1. AS is obtained. Importart values 4. World catastrophe 2. AS is based on the difference between the high quartile and the low quartile on the A-S scale distribution. Eye to profit 3. Things too intimate 4. Books and movies 4. Obedience and respect 3. Plots by politicians 3. Leisure 5. What a man does 3.

Adorno's The Authoritarian Personality

Infection and disease 4. Sex crimes 3. The final rank of an item is the rank of this sum in the distribution of sums for the whole scale. Crime wave 4. Projectivity 1. However, it is to be noted that every cluster has within it at least one item with a D. At this stage, therefore, it seemed best not to eliminate any of the variables but to give attention to improving or replacing the poorer items found in each cluster. Turning to a consideration of items which proved to be outstandingly good in the statistical sense, we note that Item 75 Sex crimes leads all the rest, i.

F plus D. P-A-S- This item represents rather well the ideal to which we aspired in formulating items for the F scale.


Not only is there a wide distribution of responses, with a mean fairly near the neutral point, but the item combines, apparently in a very effective way, several ideas which according to theory have crucial roles in prejudice: More than this, the item seems to be sufficiently free of any logical or automatic connection with overt prejudice.

That the next best item, 50 Obedience and respect , should be outstandingly differentiating is not surprising since. The device of putting the authoritarianism in a context of child training seems to remove it from the surface of ethnocentrism; but whether or not this is true, the item pertains to an aspect of the fascist philosophy that could in no case be left out of account.

Third in the rank order of goodness is Item 59, "Human nature being what it is, there will always be war and conflict. In addition to an element of overt antipacifist opinion, there is. The next item, 39 Supernatural force , seems to express very well the tendency to shift responsibility to outside forces beyond one's own control.

This is a manifestation of what has been termed ego weakness; the item has also been placed in the Authoritarian Submission cluster on the ground that faith in a supernatural force is related to faith in ingroup authorities.

It was not expected that the presence of religious feeling and belief would by itself be significant for prejudice; the aim in devising the present item was to compose a statement which was so extreme that not too many subjects would agree with it and which placed enough emphasis upon "total allegiance" and obedience "without question" so that the uncritically submissive person could distinguish himself. The mean of 3. Item 23 Undying love , which ranked fifth in order of goodness, expresses extreme moral conventionality and ingroup feeling related to the family.

It has a place in both the Authoritarian Submission and the Authoritarian Aggression clusters, because it includes both allegiance to the ingroup and a punishing attitude "He is indeed contemptible" toward those who violate this value.

The statement is so exaggerated, so expressive, as it seems, of the "protesting too much" attitude that we may wonder if strong agreement with it does not mask underlying but inhibited rebellious hostility against parents and parent figures. Concerning all five of these items it may be said that they are highly diverse in their surface content, that they pertain to various aspects of the underlying theory - superego, ego, and id are expressed - and that with the possible exception of Item 50 Obedience and respect they are highly indirect in the present sense of the term.

Indeed, as one examines further the ranking of the items in terms of their Discriminatory Powers Sciences like chemistry , Honor , Pearl Harbor Day , No sane person , Familiarity , Leisure , Infection and disease he may note that, in general, items which are best in the statistical sense are those which seem best in their formulation and in terms of our over-all theory and method of approach.

Items which turned out to be poor in the statistical sense are, in retrospect, easy to criticize. In some instances there was a failure in formulation: This would seem to have been true particularly of Items 12 Modern church and 20 Progressive education.

In other instances, e.Two statements included in this scale were the following: Since they are more numerous than either extreme.

Once a hypothesis had been formulated concerning the way in which some deep-lying trend in the personality might express itself in some opinion or attitude that was dynamically. In other words, with the right tool scale it becomes possible to unearth a truth about us, measure its prevalence, and ultimately mitigate its effects.

The measure arrays respondents on a dimension that runs from a belief at one end that children should be well-behaved, obedi- ent, and respectful of elders, to a view at the other end that children should be independent, responsible, and curious.

Ideologies have an existence independent of any single individual; and those which exist at a particular time are results both of historical processes and of contemporary social events. However, as the influence of Western mainstream psychology spread all over the world, psychologists from non-Western cultures began to reflect on whether the imported Western psychological knowledge and theories could be applied to the local context.