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Totalitarian Language

Creating Symbols to Destroy Words

Juan Francisco Fuentes

This article deals with totalitarianism and its language, conceived as both the denial and to some extent the reversal of liberalism and its conceptual framework. Overcoming liberal language meant not only setting up new political terminology, but also replacing words with symbols, ideas with sensations. This is why the standard political lexicon of totalitarianism became hardly more than a slang vocabulary for domestic consumption and, by contrast, under those regimes—mainly Italian fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism—a amboyant universe of images, sounds, and metaphors arose. Many of these images revolved around the human body as a powerful means to represent a charismatic leadership and, at the same time, an organic conception of their national communities. Totalitarian language seems to be a propitious way to explore the “dark side” of conceptual history, constituted by symbols rather than words.

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Benyamin Neuberger

This article explores the ideological underpinnings of the major Jewish political camps in Israel and the Yishuv—the left, the Orthodox, the national right, the bourgeois center—and evaluates the extent to which they are compatible with liberal democracy as commonly understood in the West. It also analyzes quasi-democratic and non-democratic aspects of older Jewish traditions based on the Torah, the Talmud, and the Halakhah. While the history of Zionism and the Zionist movement contained definite democratic components, Israel’s political system was shaped by a range of anti-democratic traditions whose resonance is still felt today.

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COVID and the Era of Emergencies

What Type of Freedom is at Stake?

Danielle Celermajer and Dalia Nassar

totalitarianism. In the final pages of Origins of Totalitarianism (1973), Arendt transitions from her sweeping historical analysis of totalitarian politics to consider its relationship with the ways in which people live together and how they understand the world

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Matthew Screech, Bart Beaty, Kees Ribbens, and Christina Meyer

Jean-Marie Apostolidès, Dans la Peau de Tintin [‘In Tintin’s Skin’]

Alain Boillat, ed., Les Cases à l’écran: Bande dessinée et cinéma en dialogue [‘Panels on the Screen: Comics and Cinema in Dialogue’]

Viviane Alary and Benoît Mitaine, eds., Lignes de front: bande dessinée et totalitarisme [Frontlines: Comics and Totalitarianism]

Thomas Becker, ed., Comic: Intermedialität und Legitimität eines popkulturellen Mediums [‘Comics: Intermediality and Legitimacy of a Popular Medium’]

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The Adorno Reader, edited by Brian O’Connor. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000. Reviewed by Ben Parker

Writings on Psychoanalysis: Freud and Lacan, by Louis Althusser; edited by Olivier Corpet and François Matheron. Columbia University Press, 1996. Reviewed by Clayton Crockett

On the Pragmatics of Social Interaction: Preliminary Studies in the Theory of Communicative Action, by Jürgen Habermas; translated by Barbara Fultner. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2001. Reviewed by Iain MacKenzie

Senses of Culture: South African Culture Studies, edited by Sarah Nuttall and Cheryl-Ann Michael. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Reviewed by Arnold Shepperson

Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory, by Bhikhu Parekh. Basingstoke & London: Macmillan, 2000. Reviewed by Laurence Piper

Heidegger and Derrida on Philosophy and Metaphor: Imperfect Thought, by Guiseppe Stellardi. Humanity Books: New York, 2000. Reviewed by Patrick Lenta

Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? Five Interventions on the (Mis)use of a Notion, by Slavoj Zizek. New York: Verso, 2001. Reviewed by Kevin A. Morrison

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Michael Humphrey, Mark T. Berger, Clive Kessler, and Souchou Yao

Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), pp. xii+353. (Reviewer: Mark T. Berger).

Akhil Gupta, Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India (Durham: Duke University Press, 1998), pp. xv + 410. (Reviewer: Mark T. Berger).

Fernando Coronil, The Magical State: Nature, Money and Modernity in Venezuela, (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1997), pp. xvii+447, photos, notes, bibliography, index. (Reviewer: Souchou Yao).

James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. (New Haven and London: Yale U.P., 1998), pp. xiv+445, notes, index, illustrations. (Reviewer: Clive Kessler).

Slavoj Zizek, Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? Five Interventions in the (Mis)use of a Notion. (Verso: London and New York, 2001), pp. 280. (Reviewer: Michael Humphrey).

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Jonathan Bach

Across former East Germany today there are more than two dozen private museums devoted to representing everyday life under socialism. Some are haphazard collections in cramped spaces, others marketable mainstays of their local tourist economy. Historians have criticized them as at best amateurish and, at worst, a trivialization of the GDR's repressive practices. Yet, this article argues how, as a social phenomenon, these museums form an important early phase in postunification efforts by public cultural institutions to incorporate the GDR everyday into working through the past. The article examines the museum's modes of representation and shows how the museums lay claim to authenticity through a tactile, interactive, and informal approach. Despite valid criticisms, the article argues that the museums can be seen as helping overcome, rather than reinforce, the binary of totalitarianism and everyday life as antagonistic frameworks for understanding the socialist past.

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Deborah Evans

liberation. The fascist goal of Islamic totalitarianism is precisely the opposite: the enslavement of a population through, for example, legalised gender inequalities, mandatory dress codes, uniformity of religious and political thought, financial dependency

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Resist and Revivify

Democratic Theory in a Time of Defiance

Jean-Paul Gagnon and Emily Beausoleil

innovations—reforms that support democracy, in other words—have never been more crucial. First, they can help to better represent those subsets of people who are feeling unrepresented. As Hannah Arendt famously observed regarding the rise of totalitarianism

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What Is Analysis?

Between Theory, Ethnography, and Method

Martin Holbraad, Sarah Green, Alberto Corsín Jiménez, Veena Das, Nurit Bird-David, Eduardo Kohn, Ghassan Hage, Laura Bear, Hannah Knox, and Bruce Kapferer

line of approach, but with similar implications to that of Husserl, describing a new fascism in thought and practice that he terms ‘inverted totalitarianism’—a kind of atomistic economism of thought that subverts knowledge practices, becoming the ground