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Do right and left-wing extremists have anything in common?

Abstract : A commonly received idea is that extremes meet, and that left- and right-wing extremists have a lot in common. In academic circles, the publication of Adorno 'et al's The Authoritarian Personality' in 1954 sparked started off a similar debate. Adorno and his colleagues saw authoritarianism essentially as the mark of the 'anti-democratic' and 'potentially fascist individual' (Adorno etal. 1950: 1). Several authors suggested that left-wingers could be authoritarian as well, starting with the early work by Eysenck (1947), Rokeach (1960) and Stirls (1960) to the most recent work by Feldman (2003), Stone et al. (1993), or Bob Altemeyer's attempt tobuild a spécifie 'Left-wing Authoritarianism' scale measuring 'revolutionary' conventionalism (Altemeyer 1996: 216-34). Until now, they show no conclusive evidence. Altemeyer himself admits that 'if you want a living, breathing, scientifically certifiable authoritarian on the left, I have not found a single one (1996: 230). Yet the debate could start up again at a time where radical populist rights are developing in Europe (Betz 1994; Taggart 2002) and left-wing extremism reviving with the antiglobalization movement and its sometimes violent confrontation with the police. [First paragraph]
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Antonio Chirumbolo, Hans de Witte. Do right and left-wing extremists have anything in common?. Nonna Mayer; Bert Klandermans; Nonna Mayer. Extreme right activists in Europe: through the magnifying glass, Routledge, pp.248 - 268, 2006, 0415358272. ⟨hal-03416079⟩



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