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The Authoritarian Personality in White Middle-Class Suburbia: A Planetary Sociology of Trumpism and Me

Stelios Alfonso Panageotou (The College of Idaho, USA)

Planetary Sociology

ISBN: 978-1-80043-509-4, eISBN: 978-1-80043-508-7

Publication date: 5 May 2023


At a time when the gradual collapse of democratic norms and processes is obvious to anyone who cares to read the headlines, the tension between self and society is fertile soil for understanding democratic decay. While we may wish to see democracy refortified, the fact remains that citizens equipped to handle democratic practices are a necessary precondition for democratic revitalization. Yet, the deterioration of democracy suggests breakdown in the gears of democratic production of the democratic citizen. The following chapter examines a particular cancer that is antithetical to democracy and has afflicted your author – the authoritarian personality. Critical theorists and social scientists in the mid-twentieth century identified this personality disposition as one that cultivates receptivity to fascism and is today the beating heart of right-wing extremism in its particular incarnation as Trumpism. I develop the theory of the authoritarian personality as it shaped and inflamed at the familial, societal, and global levels. Contributing to the project of planetary sociology, I demonstrate how the changes occurring on the world stage incite the most pernicious and antidemocratic features of the authoritarian personality. All the while, I subject myself to critical scrutiny in order to illustrate the inner-workings of this personality disposition. Your author stands before you as a recovering authoritarian and hopes that by reading this chapter, you will begin to see authoritarianism all around you, perhaps even within yourself.



Panageotou, S.A. (2023), "The Authoritarian Personality in White Middle-Class Suburbia: A Planetary Sociology of Trumpism and Me", Dahms, H.F. (Ed.) Planetary Sociology (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 40), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 63-89.



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