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This is one of a series of excerpts from older articles put online by John Ray as a public service. The articles concerned are in general otherwise available only by special request to a University or other major library.

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American J. Sociology, 1972, 77 (5), 857-875.

Authoritarianism as World View



Howard Gabennesch

University of Kentucky

A promising alternative to the psychoanalytic conception of authoritarianism is the "breadth of perspective" approach. Several writers have argued that authoritarianism results, at least in part, from the lack of broad social perspectives. However, they have not made it sufficiently clear how breadth of perspective operates to discourage authoritarianism and how it relates to more than one or two of the several components of the authoritarianism complex. By specifically taking, account of the particular world view which underlies the interdependent characteristics of authoritarianism, it is possible to explicate the relationship between breadth of perspective and authoritarianism. This world view seems impressively similar to the concept of "reification," as described explicitly or implicitly by a number of social theorists. It is maintained here that reification is induced by narrow perspectives and diminished by broadened perspectives. An "authoritarian personality" is not a prerequisite for such reification. But many of the characteristics of authoritarianism can result from this orientation toward social reality





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