Vom Nicht-Veralten des „autoritären Charakters“. Wilhelm Reich, Erich Fromm und die Rechtsextremismusforschung

The article begins by acknowledging the pioneering achievements, with regard to the study of right-wing extremism, of the psychoanalysts and social scientists Wilhelm Reich (1897–1957) and Erich Fromm (1900–1980). These achievements, largely unknown or ignored today, are related to their historical context. The main section of the article then engages with the hypothesis that the authoritarian character is “becoming obsolete.” This hypothesis, derived from the findings of the Leipzig University studies on Germany’s political “center,” is being defended today by the sociologist and social psychologist Oliver Decker. The article demonstrates that the arguments in favor of such obsolescence are questionable, and that it would be dangerous to underestimate the significant influence still exerted by these massively evident character structures, which are constantly being reproduced by alienated socialization and the capitalist social system.

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