What makes some a rebel?

Numerous contemporary diagnoses revolve around the generally unexpected rise of authoritarian parties and movements that can currently be observed around the world. If one ties in with the findings of the early Frankfurt School on the authoritarian character, the attractiveness of the new "false prophets" is in no way surprising. In around 20 essays, the authors of this anthology discuss the explanatory potential of a psychoanalytically informed critical theory of authoritarianism in the face of changed social conditions.



With contributions by Jens Benicke, Simon Dämgen, Ingo Elbe, en arrêt! Berlin, Jan Gerber, Maurits Heumann, Christine Kirchhoff, Moritz Liewerscheidt, Miriam Mettler, Björn Milbradt, Oliver Nachtwey, Klaus Ottomeyer, Enrico Pfau, Ljiljana Radonic, Lars Rensmann, Samuel Salzborn, Michael Schüßler, Peter Schulz, Karin Stögner, Tom Uhlig, Jan Weyand and Sebastian Winter.


Environmentalists, leftists, cosmopolitan - and opponents of democracy: nowadays some are all of these at the same time. A new type of protest can be observed, says Oliver Nachtwey. The social scientist calls him the "regressive rebel".

Oliver Nachtwey in an interview with Liane von Billerbeck on Deutschlandfunk Kultur


In capitalism, on the one hand, you are solely responsible for yourself and your happiness, but at the same time you have no control over your own living conditions. That is a tremendous narcissistic offense.

An interview with Katrin Henkelmann on Friday


This volume uses critical theory to explain why concerned citizens and corona deniers are feeding their hatred with obvious nonsense and what can be done about it.

Thomas Hummitzsch / tip


The problem is: Political science studies can explain a lot, for example why at time X which factors might have favored the rise of certain parties. Or what voter migration there is. But they cannot answer why it is attractive to vote for authoritarian parties at all. Why does an unemployed person choose the AfD, even though it represents a neoliberal economic program? That is a question on which political science must necessarily refer to sociology or psychology. The critical theory approach tries to understand such irrational behavior.

Katrin Henkelmann in conversation with Barbara Knopf on Bayern2


Donald Trump is a good example of authoritarianism. Five young people have now published a book on the subject of authoritarian character.

Andreas Stahl in conversation with Josepha Zastrow at Oldenburg Eins


In my opinion, a fresh and in some respects refreshing explanation for why so many journalists want to "talk to rights" is what Christine Kirchhoff has ready in the March issue of concrete (not currently online). In the text that appears in a longer version at the end of April in the volume "Conformist Rebels. On the Topicality of the Authoritarian Character" published by Verbrecher Verlag, she explains this with reference to Freud and Adorno, in particular to what the latter called Liberation Trick ".



Overall, the essays in "Conformist Rebels" cover an enormous spectrum of topics and approaches. It is positive that the publications of Critical Theory are always the central reference, but the essays in the anthology are never exhausted in an exegesis of the history of ideas that was published seventy years ago. "Conformist rebels" succeed in investigating the question of the topicality of the studies on the authoritarian character.

Till Schmidt / provider


It is about a specific problem: what can be done against anti-Semitism and fascism?

Katrin Henkelmann and Andreas Stahl in an interview with Ulrich Mathias Gerr from the AStA at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg


The authoritarian character has not entirely disappeared. The authors trace its transformation as well as the persistence or withering away of certain dispositions belonging to it. The increased transition to the social type of the narcissistic character is examined particularly frequently.

Nico Hoppe / Novo. Arguments for progress


Only those who properly understand phenomena such as authoritarianism and anti-Semitism, fascism and populism or racism and sexism can effectively combat them. The volume should make a contribution to the correct understanding. On the basis of this understanding, strategies for combating them can then be developed. In this respect, the adequate theoretical understanding of the phenomena and their effective practical control are inextricably linked.

Andreas Stahl and Niklas Wünsch in an interview with Anzeiger


Conformist rebels represent a successful impetus to revive the discussion about the critical authoritarianism theory. It is gratifying that many contributions underline its psychoanalytic basis.

Leo Roepert / Sociopolis


In times of Corona rebellion, in which the most varied of characters run up against a "system" in the mode of rebellion, a book about authoritarian rebels hits the nerve of the times.

Andreas Kranebitter / Diary