Totalitarian and Authoritarian Discourses

Lams et al. coverThis volume offers a comparative analysis of the functioning of totalitarian and authoritarian discourses and their aftermath. Whereas other studies often focus on communist/post-communist examples and hence particularize totalitarian discourse, this book starts from a more encompassing theoretical perspective, transcending the limitation of totalitarian discourse to its communist constituent.

The case studies presented in this volume thus provide a more differentiated analysis of discursive strategies in totalitarian and authoritarian regimes across the globe, including the former East Germany, former Yugoslavia, Romania, Lithuania, China, North Korea, the Philippines, Burma, Cuba and Tunisia. In addition to this geographical range, these studies also undertake new research into different eras, enabling comparison between past and present discourses. The findings are presented in three interconnected sections dealing with culture and education, media and official discourse, and power structures and politics. The extended scope of the case studies reveals the universal characteristics of totalitarian/authoritarian discourses over space and time.

Contents: Henrieta Anişoara Şerban: Theoretical Argument. Totalitarian Discourse: The New Snow White/Society in the Discursive Wooden Mirror – Răzvan Victor Pantelimon: Uses and Abuses of Che Guevara’s Myth in Political Cuban Discourse – Geert Crauwels: The I and the Socialist Personality: The Questioning of an Ideological Concept in Post-GDR Literary Autobiographical Discourse – Arvi Sepp: Totalitarianism and Performativity: The Redemptive Language of National Socialism in Nazi Poetry – Soonhee Fraysse-Kim: Constructing Them and Us in North Korea – Jorge V. Tigno and Jean Encinas Franco: The Language of Dictatorship in the Philippines: Marcos and Martial Law – Lutgard Lams: Strategies of Symbolic Meaning Construction in Chinese Official Discourse – Ivana Dobrivojević: From Liberators to Villains: The Transformation of the Image of the Soviet Soldier in the Yugoslav Press (1945-1953) – Rūta Petrauskaitė: The Pathos of the Soviet Press – Ko Ko Thett: The Myth of the Indispensability of the Military in Burmese Political Culture: Totalitarian Discourse in the State of Myanmar – Viorella Manolache: Totalitarian Discourse and the Rule of ‘Anti-’ – Abdenbi Sarroukh: Some Aspects of Totalitarian Discourse in Ben Ali’s Tunisia.

Lutgard Lams is Associate Professor of Pragmatics, Media Discourse Analysis and Intercultural Communication at University College Brussels and Associate Research Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Catholic University of Louvain. Her recent publications focus on the media discourse of China and the relationship between China and the West.

Geert Crauwels is Assistant Professor of German Language and Culture in the German Department at Leiden University. His research focuses on power in contemporary German-language literature and on totalitarian discourse.

Henrieta Anişoara Şerban is Senior Researcher at the Institute of Political Science and International Relations and the Institute of Philosophy and Psychology ‘Constantin Rădulescu-Motru’ in the Romanian Academy, Bucharest. She is also an associate member of the Academy of Romanian Scientists. Her research interests include the philosophy of science and communication and political communication.


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