Sociology 319

March 9, 2000


1. Dates for Major Critical Theorists

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940)

Max Horkheimer (1895-1973)

Theodor Adorno (1903-1969)

Erich Fromm (1900-1980)

Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979)

Jurgen Habermas (1929- )

2. Characteristics of the Authoritarian Personality (Horkheimer and Adorno)

  1. Conventionalism. Rigid adherence to conventional, middle class attitudes.
  2. Authoritarian Submission. Submissive, uncritical attitude toward idealized moral authorities of the ingroup.
  3. Authoritarian Aggression. Tendency to be on the lookout for, and to condemn, reject, and punish people who violate conventional values.
  4. Anti-intraception. Opposition to the subjective, the imaginative, the tenderminded.
  5. Superstitions and Stereotyty. The belief in mystical determinants of the individual’s fate; the disposition to think in rigid categories.
  6. Power and ‘Toughness’. Preoccupation with the dominance-submission, strong-weak, leader-follower dimension; identification with power figures; overemphasis upon the conventionalized attributes of the ego; exaggerated assertion of strength and t oughness.
  7. Destruction and Cynicism. Generalized hostility, vilification of the human.
  8. Projectivity. The disposition to believe that wild and dangerous things go on in the world; the projection outwards of unconscious emotional impulses.
  9. Sex. Exaggerated concern with sexual ‘goings-on.’


From Douglas Kellner. 1989. Critical Theory, Marxism and Modernity. Oxford: Polity Press, p. 116


Last edited on November 24, 2004.

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