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Theodor W. Adorno's concept of fascism

Grant number: 19/25653-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2020
Effective date (End): August 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Fundamentals of Sociology
Principal Investigator:Sinésio Ferraz Bueno
Grantee:João Vitor Dal Bon Rosales
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências (FFC). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Marília. Marília , SP, Brazil


Due to the advancement of the right in the political field in recent years and the increase in fundamentalist discourses and their actions that stigmatize differences, whether ethnic, political, cultural or social, both nationally and internationally, the term "fascism" has again been used used in political speeches and as slogans in demonstrations around the world. However, the use of this concept can often incur a superficial vulgarization of the term, which, in these cases, tends more to insult than to clarify. From this, this work is dedicated to the analysis of the theoretical conception of the concept of fascism elaborated by Theodor W. Adorno from the articulation between critical theory and Freudian theory. This elaboration had as its object of analysis the latent fascism in liberal and democratic societies just like the United States in the first half of the 20th century. With this, Adorno identified in American society a fascist ideology, which, through his propaganda, fixed the "evil" in social minorities such as Jews, communists, blacks, foreigners, or homosexuals, these being the main responsible for all the evils that afflicted those who identified themselves as the moral reserve of American society, that is, the "good". More specifically, Adorno dedicated himself to identifying in some anti-democratic propagandists the character of the fascist agitator, who externalized all the suppressed aggressive catharsis of his followers. Thus, the sociological analysis carried out by Adorno, whose theoretical apparatus was dialectical historical materialism, was only possible from the psychoanalytic categories of Freudian theory, which considered above all the subjective causalities of individuals. Such agitators placed themselves as an ethical stronghold to be followed insofar as they propagated a stereotype of evil linked to ethnic, racial, political, social and cultural differences, blaming them for all the suffering caused to "good citizens". Thus, through a Manichean vision, those who belong to the "in-group", who represent the good, must eradicate the evil from society, that is, the "out-group". Thus, the present work seeks a better understanding of the concept of fascism coined by Theodor Adorno in order to elucidate the application of such definition in contemporary society, in view of the increase in fundamentalist discourses and the stigmatization of political, social, economic and cultural minorities. For this, the reading of Adorno's works related to the articulation between sociological theory and Freudian theory in the delimitation of the concept of fascism is necessary.

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