Visiting scholar Oliver Decker — on Capitalism and Authoritarianism

Professor OLIVER DECKER (Universities of Leipzig and Hanover, Center for the Study of Right Wing Extremism)

CRITICAL THEORY AND THE ARTS is pleased to have visiting with us Professor Oliver Decker, a social psychologist, trained both as a psychoanalyst and in the tradition of critical theory social research. Throughout the Spring 2015 semester, Professor Decker is giving a series of seminars in which students are devising research projects concerning questions at the intersection of contemporary art and society.

Professor Decker lead a special seminar for the department faculty and students to meet and discuss Professor Decker’s own research into the contemporary rise of right wing political extremism. Professor Decker’s thesis is that there is an authoritarian dynamic implicit to societies structured by the dynamic of capitalist growth patterns. If this is correct then what seems to be today’s fringe phenomenon of expanding right wing extremism—unfortunately evident today throughout Europe and America—is considerably more than that: it gives insight into a fundamental aspect of modern society in the rise of capitalism.