Authoritarian Personality

A person who favors or supports a system in which some people control while others are controlled is said to have an authoritarian personality.
Authoritarian Personality Sociology Definition

Definition

A person who favors or supports a system in which some people control while others are controlled is said to have an authoritarian personality. This personality is thus the opposite of a democratic desire since it implies power and submission.

Explanation

The Authoritarian Personality, written by Else Frenkel-Brunswick, Daniel J. Levinson, Theodor Adorno, and R. Nevitt Sandford in 1950, popularized the theory that specific individuals have a personality that makes them more likely to hold anti-democratic political attitudes as a result of their upbringing.

A personality that felt satisfaction in submitting to authority while focusing animosity against outsiders, often ethnic minorities, resulted from rigid discipline and conditional love. The idea was originally quite powerful because it seemed to explain the antisemitism and fascism of the preceding two decades and acknowledged the widely held belief that one’s upbringing significantly impacted their adult life.

Although intuitively reasonable, it lost favor with sociologists and political scientists since there was little evidence supporting the existence of an authoritarian personality type. Even if one reversed the causal relationship, the evidence that a specific personality made individuals open to political ideas suited as well; it was equally likely that being socialized into an authoritarian political culture changed people’s personalities.

A psychological condition of characteristics known as the authoritarian personality strongly correlates with prejudice towards outgroups. Deference to authority figures, aggressiveness toward outsiders, and strict commitment to cultural norms are three personality qualities that stand out as characteristics of the condition. As a result, authoritarians have a rigorously hierarchical worldview.

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