Theodor Adorno, "The Authoritarian Personality" (Verso, 2019)

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By Marshall Poe. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

70 years ago, the philosopher Theodore Adorno and a team of scholars released a massive book titled The Authoritarian Personality (Verso, 2019), which attempted to map the psychological and emotional dynamics of those who might find themselves seduced by authoritarianism.

The book synthesized both empirical psychology and sociology, relying on massive sets of data, with psychoanalytic models of personality so as to approach their subjects with a set of deep hermeneutic tools. The result is a book that is both both data-driven and speculative, and covers a vast swatch of theoretical territory.

It was recently republished by Verso books, with a new introduction by Peter Gordon.

Charles Clavey, a lecturer in social studies at Harvard University, whose research focuses on critical theory and the history of authoritarianism. His writing has appeared in a number of places including Modern Intellectual History, The LA Review of Books and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Stephen Dozeman is a freelance writer.

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