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Phantom Possession. The New Authoritarian Personality and its Domains.

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 PhantomAiD project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the PhantomAiD project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "PhantomAiD" about.

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Project "PhantomAiD" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: VERONA
postcode: 37129

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Italy [IT]
 Total cost 171˙473 €
 EC max contribution 171˙473 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2019
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-12-01   to  2022-11-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI VERONA IT (VERONA) coordinator 171˙473.00


 Project objective

Authoritarian political forces are a growing global phenomenon. In critical theory, this is explained either through material factors, running the risk of economic reductionism, or through psychological traits, individualizing the matter in a problematic way. To date, no theoretical framework integrates the two dimensions in a consistent way, leading to deep rifts in political analysis. The proposed research programme introduces the term phantom possession in order to bridge between the material and the psychological level. The notion of phantom possession allows the reconstruction of authoritarianism as driven by property logic. Conceptualised as a domain requiring control and defence, the phantasmatic entitlement becomes a reference point for authoritarian mobilization. Consequently, the subject of authoritarianism can be characterized as a phantom owner. The full theory of the authoritarian personality as phantom owner consists of three components. The first is an account of the politics of phantom owners. As Hannah Arendt mentioned in her analysis of modern mass-politics, authoritarianism is destructive in a way prefigured by early modern property discourse. I analyse destructiveness as the core characteristic of authoritarian politics. The second component investigates the psychology of phantom owners. To understand the psychological basis of authoritarianism, I link the Frankfurt School approach of authoritarian character formation with newer trends in feminist object-relations theory. On this basis, prejudices can be understood as defensive mechanisms, and defensiveness as the defining feature of authoritarian psyches. The third component implements my account. I show how the dual license to violence implied by property – the right to destroy and the right to aggressively defend one’s property – structures current authoritarian mobilization around such disparate domains as abortion, immigration, gender, and environmental politics.

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