When Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin first came to power in the 1930s their regimes were considered by many to represent a new and perplexing phenomenon. They were labelled ‘totalitarian’. But is ‘totalitarianism’ genuinely new, or is the word just another name for something old and familiar, namely tyranny?
This is the first question to be addressed by Alan Haworth in this book, which explores the relevance of philosophy to the understanding of totalitarianism. In the course of the discussion, definitions are tested. Is it coherent to think of totalitarianism as the imposition of a ‘total state’, or of ‘total control’? Could it even be that the idea of totalitarianism is a ‘non-concept’?
Examining the work of the totalitarian philosophers Giovanni Gentile and Carl Schmitt, the idea of ‘totalitarianism by other means’ as represented in dystopian fiction, and the philosophy of Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism and Philosophy is essential reading for all students and scholars of political philosophy.
2. ‘Totalitarianism’ or Plain Tyranny?
3. The Total State
4. Total Control
7. Arendt: the Elements of Totalitarianism
8. From Public Realm to ‘Worldlessness’
9. In Conclusion.
Routledge Focus on Philosophy is an exciting and innovative new series, capturing and disseminating some of the best and most exciting new research in philosophy in short book form. Peer reviewed and at a maximum of fifty thousand words shorter than the typical research monograph, Routledge Focus on Philosophy titles are available in both ebook and print on demand format. Tackling big topics in a digestible format the series opens up important philosophical research for a wider audience, and as such is invaluable reading for the scholar, researcher and student seeking to keep their finger on the pulse of the discipline. The series also reflects the growing interdisciplinarity within philosophy and will be of interest to those in related disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.