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Ergebnisanzeige "GSA 2015: The Authoritarian Personality and Concepts of 21st Century Authority"
RessourcentypCall for Papers
TitelGSA 2015: The Authoritarian Personality and Concepts of 21st Century Authority
BeschreibungThe Authoritarian Personality and Concepts of 21st Century Authority
Washington, DC, GSA Oktober 2014

According to Erich Fromm, the authoritarian character is a personality with low self-esteem, unable to engage with a complex and contradictory environment, and thus prone to prejudices, conformity, destructivity, and unquestioning obedience. The analysis of this personality structure already emerged around WWI (H. Mann, Schnitzler, Le Bon, Freud). It was a little later that it received its most prominent scholarship around WWII by the early Frankfurt School (Reich, Fromm, Horkheimer, Adorno). After this ‘classical period’ the analysis of the authoritarian mindset became subject of individual research on ‘Vergangenheitsbewältigung’ (Mitscherlich, 1967), obedience (Milgram-Experiment 1961, Stanford-Prison-Experiment 1971) ‘Bezi-ehungsunfähigkeit’ (Theweleit 1978), and narcissism (Lasch 1979), while at the same time slowly disappearing as an influential concept of social and cultural theory.

Our panel would like to pose several questions revolving around the disappearance of the figure of the authoritarian personality as a concept of investigation. The most evi-dent question would of course be whether it has disappeared at all. If it has, however, is it because this questioning of authority has itself been branded a gesture of authori-ty - as many poststructuralist writers have argued? Or has the figure not vanished but been replaced by other, more contemporary figures? What can be said about authority and submission as they are produced by flat hierarchies, represented as “work & life balance,” playful creativeness, and the lifestyle of a so-called “digital bohemia” (Holm Friebe/Sascha Lobo)? How can we think of authority in relation to social me-dia? In this case the major question runs: who would be the heirs of the ‘classic’ au-thoritarian personality and where can we find their representations in theory, litera-ture, and the arts?

Please send a 200-word abstract with a short bio (in English or German) by
30 January 2015 to the organizers:

Manuel Clemens (
Marc Petersdorff (
Thorben Päthe (
Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
VeranstaltungsortWashington, DC,
PersonName: Manuel Clemens 
Funktion: Wiss. Mitarbeiter 
KontaktdatenName/Institution: Leuphana Universität 
Strasse/Postfach: IDD 
Stadt: Lüneburg 
Ediert von  H-Germanistik
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