Right-wing authoritarianism

Right-Wing Authoritarianism

Right-wing authoritarianism

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Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) is a personality and ideological variable studied in political, social, and personality psychology. It is defined by three attitudinal and behavioral clusters which correlate together:Altemeyer, B. (1988). Enemies of freedom. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba PressAltemeyer, B. (1996). The authoritarian specter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  1. Authoritarian submission — a high degree of submissiveness to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives.
  2. Authoritarian aggression — a general aggressiveness directed against deviants, outgroups, and other people that are perceived to be targets according to established authorities.
  3. Conventionalism — a high degree of adherence to the traditions and social norms that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities, and a belief that others in one's society should also be required to adhere to these normsAltemeyer, B. (2006). The Authoritarians, p.27.


The terminology of authoritarianism, right-wing authoritarianism, and authoritarian personality tend to be used interchangeably by psychologists, though inclusion of the term "personality" may indicate a psychodynamic interpretation consistent with the original formulation of the theory.

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