The Totalitarian Paradigm After the End of Communism: Towards a Theoretical Reassessment
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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action analysis argument authoritarian Autocracy basic Bolshevik Borkenau's classic cognitive collapse communism communist communist studies communist systems concept of totalitarianism context contrast cultural democracy democratic Drath's dynamics Eastern Europe Eckhard Jesse economic Edited Ernst Nolte Ethnomethodology factors fascism Friedrich and Brzezinski German Gorbachev's Hannah Arendt historical Hitler human Ibid idea ideal idem ideology institutions interpretation Klaus von Beyme leadership Leszek Nowak logic Marxism mass means methodological methods modern Munich National Socialism National Socialist Nazi Neumann Nolte normative Nowak original Origins of Totalitarianism party perestroika Permanent Revolution perspective Philosophy political Politik post-totalitarianism Poznań problems reality construction reform régimes revolutionary role rulers Russia social science society sociological Soviet Union Sovietology Stalin structure tarian terror theoretical theory of totalitarianism tion Totalitäre totalitarian approach totalitarian dictatorship totalitarian paradigm totalitarian regimes totalitarian rule totalitarian systems totalitarianism theory Totalitarismus Vita activa Western