images, signs, consumable models. (Baudrillard 1970/1998 : 191) It is clear in retrospect that he was expressing in his own fashion the idea of the birth of the totalitarian market of simulacra. Though written forty years ago, these words have become still more timely in the last few decades (these problems have not ceased to be important even now; see, for example, Hegarty 2004 ). We emphasise that the term ‘simulacrum’ is fundamental: it refers to the forms
Written in French exile, the following text by Siegfried Kracauer from December 1936 outlines a research project that the German-Jewish intellectual undertook with funding from the Institute for Social Research. The work outlined here would be a study of totalitarian propaganda in Germany and Italy through sustained comparison with communist and democratic countries, especially the Soviet Union and the United States. Appearing in English translation for the first time, this document from Kracauer‘s estate is crucial for a full understanding of his career as a sociologist, cultural critic, film theorist and philosopher, demonstrating the global scope of his engagement with cinema, mass culture and modernity.
Qabassin, neither the Syrians nor MSF’s expatriate staff were directly affected by ISIL’s seizure of power, which changed very little in the day-to-day lives and work of MSF’s teams – although, in the first brief discussions with them, ISIL’s representatives made no secret of their totalitarian intentions. Moreover, since September 2013, ISIL propaganda in north-west Syria had been accusing foreign doctors of being enemy spies – a ‘status’ that until then had been reserved for
This book reassesses a defining historical, political and ideological moment in contemporary history: the 1989 revolutions in central and eastern Europe. It considers the origins, processes and outcomes of the collapse of communism in eastern Europe. The book argues that communism was not simply an 'unnatural Yoke' around the necks of East Europeans, but was a powerful, and not entirely negative, historical force capable of modernizing societies, cultures and economies. It focuses on the interplay between internal and external developments as opposed to an emphasis on Cold War geopolitical power struggles and the triumphalist rhetoric of how the 'freedom-loving' USA 'defeated' the 'totalitarian' Soviet Union. The book also approaches the East European revolutions from a variety of angles, emphasizing generational conflicts, socio-economic and domestic aspects, international features, the 'Gorbachev factor', and the role of peace movements or discourses on revolution. It analyses the peace movements in both parts of Germany during the 1980s from a perspective that transcends the ideological and geopolitical divides of the Cold War. The history of the East German peace movement has mostly been written from the perspective of German unification in 1989-1990. Many historians have read the history of the civil rights movement of 1989-1990 backwards in order to show its importance, or ignored it altogether to highlight the totalitarian character of the German Democratic Republic.
Eternal life Again and again in this book, the term ‘totalitarianism’ has served as a historiographical beacon. We have seen how ‘revisionism’ was construed as totalitarianism's other in the historiographical fights of the 1980s. We encountered Moshe Lewin's flirtation with the term, and his groping for alternatives, before exploring the work of Richard Pipes, a major proponent of understanding the Soviet Union as ‘totalitarian’. We demonstrated how the unrevisionist revisionist, Sheila Fitzpatrick, used the concept, while arguing against the
This book offers an overview of the principal features of the German political system. It emphasises four important characteristics of the system: the way in which twentieth-century history shaped the post-Second World War political system; the stability and adaptability of that system; the unusual importance within the political system of legal rules; and the significance of Germany's association with European integration. The book surveys the Basic Law, designed in 1948-1949 as a direct response to the failure of Germany's first experiment with democracy: the regime of the Weimar Republic. The book describes the events of the fateful years 1989 and 1990, which led to reunification, in three phases: the downfall of the old regime in the German Democratic Republic; the period of adjustment and transition to a democratic regime in Germany; and the process and consequences of reunification itself. The book also examines the principal influences which have shaped the present-day political system, the electoral system and electoral behaviour of the Federal Republic, and the features of the 'party state'. It reviews the structure, operation and political effects of Germany's particular version of federalism and analyses the core institutions of government. The structure and powers of the legislative chambers, the legislative process, and the role of the elected representative are also discussed. Finally, the book charts the path taken by West Germany to develop links to 'Europe', and explores the ways in which membership of what has become the European Union impinges upon the domestic politics of the Federal Republic.
been fully acknowledged in much of the more narrowly focused, institutional labour historiography. 2 As an essential part of the politics of the Cold War, the Right once again tarred the mainstream labour movement as subscribing to the ‘alien’, ‘extreme’ and ‘totalitarian’ doctrine of socialism and, whether as fools or knaves, being variously ‘Red’ or the accomplice and/or dupe of ‘conspiratorial’, ‘disloyal’ ‘tyrannical’ and ‘wrecking’ communists. As in the interwar years, the ‘politics of loyalism
sociological analysis. By and large, however, Shils, Oakeshott, and those other figures shared a common attitude towards the major questions of the time. This attitude can be described as anti-totalitarianism. Informed by the experience of the struggle against Fascism and facing the challenges presented by the Communist regimes and their fellow travellers in the West, anti-totalitarian intellectuals came together in their defence of the social and political institutions of Western liberal democracies against totalitarian attacks. They may have varied in the degree of their
world. While the fully realized actualization of such terror had been unprecedented in this form until the 1930’s, now that it has happened, become real, made into fact, it is a precedent and hence a constant menace. ( 2014 : 19) While the camp, ‘functions … as the heart of the totalitarian society … as a “world apart”’ ( 2014 : 18
primary role played by social psychologists in the academic study of what we would call the Holocaust during the post-war era. Finally the chapter will analyse accounts of Jewish persecution subsumed within prominent renderings of the Nazi state as totalitarian. Throughout I will argue that even where the Nazi campaign against the Jews was rendered in a manner that does not conform to the basic shape of our Holocaust narrative – that Jews were murdered as Jews – it is crucial that, if we are concerned to understand the development of Holocaust historiography, we engage