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De totalitaristiska elementen och den gnostiska totalitarismen: Hannah Arendt och Eric Voegelin i dialog om det politiska
2016 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Hanna Arendt (1906-1975) and Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) were two political thinkers which can be placed in the Totalitarianism-theory discourse. In 1951, Voegelin was commissioned to review Hannah Arendt´s recently published book The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951). Arendt was given the right to reply. Voegelin also wrote a letter to Arendt in German which she responded to. With their dialogue as a starting point, aspects of the theoretical content of the philosophical and political thinking in Voegelin and Arendt was analyzed. The main conclusion is that their theories complement each other and that they can be better understood in light of each other.

A deeper understanding of Arendt´s and Voegelin´s ideas has been achieved using the anthropological concept liminality. It is an aid to understanding the dissolution of an order and the transition towards a new order. All kinds of changes in paradigm can be studied from the perspective of liminality. The political situation in Europe in the 30ths was a liminality of the thinking of Voegelin and Arendt. Therefore, their ”conservatism” can be interpreted as a ”plasticity” of ideologies-discourse according to the specific liminality, and their ideas as both radical and conservative due to the political situation in the liminality.

Conducting a reflexive approach towards their ideas has clarified their explicit divergence as both divergence and convergence. Their supposed divergence is sometimes explained by their different theoretical perspectives. Despite a disagreement with sine ira et studio in dialogue, their views correspond to each other, since both affirm a historical approach to political phenomena which is evaluative but not judicial in the sense that empiri judge evaluative statements.

Arendt rejected the idea of totalitarianism as a utilitarian-scientific project, but could not deny the empiri of nazism and bolshevism using utilitarian-scientific (”everything is possible”) propaganda language. Nor did Voegelin see a direct causality from 16th century scientism to totalitarianism, but concluded that scientism was a discourse for the totalitarian ideologies in which mankind had immanentized God into the concept ”everything is possible”. None of them accepted a metaphysical and essential concept of the human nature. Arendt`s foundation for human Being was a plurality of mankind while Voegelin founded it in a consciousness which transcend to the world. Regarding political religion Arendt reject totalitarianism as a secular religion, although she observes the religious elements while Voegelin adopt a political religion theory. The divergence is accomplished by their different theories in the concept religion. They both observe same phenomena, but Voegelin theorized totalitarianism in a way Arendt would call speculative. It is further suggested that the concept pneumopathology can be used as a model for approaching the phenomena totalitarianism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 79 p.
Keyword [en]
totalitarianism, liminality, gnostic, pneumopathology
Keyword [sv]
totalitarism, Arendt, Voegelin, liminalitet, politiska, gnosticism, pneumopatologi
National Category
Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-31580OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-31580DiVA: diva2:1062147
Subject / course
History of Ideas
Uppsok
Humanities, Theology
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-01-05 Created: 2017-01-04 Last updated: 2017-01-05Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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