Else Frenkel-Brunswik (1908–1958) may be known to some as one of the co-authors of the famous study The Authoritarian Personality by Theodor W. Adorno and others. However, as was the case with other Austrian sociologists such as Marie Jahoda and Maria Hertz Levinson, Frenkel-Brunswik’s role in empirical research remained seldom discussed in later reception. Along with their names, a specific influence was forgotten that had significantly shaped this research — a distinct combination of empirical sociology, (social) psychology and psychoanalysis that had emerged in Vienna in the period before World War II and was expelled during Austrofascism and Nazism. Here it had been treated with hostility by established university social scientists, who branded it as feminist, Marxist and Jewish, and bluntly labeled it as »odd« (»ungerade«).
On July 1st and 2nd, 2o21, we are holding a symposium in Vienna dedicated to the life and works of Else Frenkel-Brunswik. The symposium invites international experts to explore the work of Else Frenkel-Brunswik, in particular her research on authoritarianism, and the legacy of this research for the social sciences today.