The Totalitarian Paradigm After the End of Communism: Towards a Theoretical Reassessment

Achim Siegel
Rodopi, 1998 - 328 頁
Concepts of totalitarianism have undergone an academic revival in recent years, particularly since the breakdown of communist systems in Europe in 1989-91: the totalitarian paradigm, so it seems to many scholars today, had been discarded prematurely in the heat of the Cold War. The demise of communism as a social system is, however, not only an important cause of the recurring attractiveness of the totalitarian paradigm, but provides at the same time new evidence and, correspondingly, new problems of explanation for all approaches in communist studies and totalitarianism theory in particular.
This book contains articles by philosophers, social scientists and historians who reassess the validity of the totalitarian approach in the light of the recent historical developments in Eastern Europe. A first group of authors focus on the analytical usefulness and explanatory power of classic concepts of totalitarianism after having observed the failed reforms of the Gorbachev-era and the collapse of Europe's communist systems in 1989-91. In these contributions the totalitarian paradigm is contrasted with other approaches with respect to cognitive power as well as normative implications. In the second group of contributions the focus is on the reassessment of methodological and theoretical problems of the classic concepts of totalitarianism. The authors attempt to reinterpret the classic concepts so as to meet the objections which have been put forward against those concepts during the last decades.
The study thereby traces some of the intellectual roots of the totalitarian paradigm that precede the outbreak of the Cold War, such as the work of Sigmund Neumann and Franz Borkenau. It also focuses on the most famous authors in the field: Hannah Arendt and Carl Joachim Friedrich. In addition it discusses theorists of totalitarianism like Juan Linz, whose contributions to totalitarianism theory have too often been overlooked.

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Klaus von Beyme The Concept of Totalitarianism A Reassessment after
Klaus Mueller East European Studies NeoTotalitarianism and Social
Ernst Nolte The Three Versions of the Theory of Totalitarianism and
Franz Borkenaus

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第 10 頁 - Western views of communist systems, including the assertion that they could never be liberalized, see Abbott Gleason, Totalitarianism: The Inner History of the Cold War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp.