Article ID: CBB000850778

Modern Mass Aberration: Hermann Broch and the Problem of Irrationality (2008)


The mass theory of the Austrian novelist and philosopher Hermann Broch has been virtually ignored in social theory. However, the recent theoretical interest in crowds makes it pertinent to scrutinize this part of his work. This article presents and examines the fundamental architecture of Broch's Massenwahntheorie, its historical context and how it may contribute to contemporary social theory. Specifically, Broch's insistence on the irrational dimensions of human behaviour is analysed as well as his emphasis on psychological anxiety in modern society. It is argued that both aspects may point beyond the specific context of his writings and illuminate important general aspects of social and political life.

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Authors & Contributors
Cohen-Cole, Jamie Nace
Fontaine, Philippe
Nadler, Arie
Füredi, Frank
Blass, Thomas
Smith, M. Brewster
History of Psychology
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
History of Psychiatry
British Journal for the History of Science
New York University Press
Cambridge University Press
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
University of Chicago Press
University of Louisiana at Monroe
Social sciences
Social psychology
Emotions; passions
Discipline formation
Milgram, Stanley
Smith, M. Brewster (Mahlon Brewster)
Zimbardo, Philip G.
Bateson, Gregory
Miller, James Grier
Gerard, Ralph Waldo
Time Periods
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
United States
Alberta, Canada
North America
United States. Central Intelligence Agency
Stanford University
University of Alberta (Canada)
University of Chicago

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