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Original scientific paper

Political Myths and Totalitarianism: An Anthropological Analysis of Their Causal Interrelationship

Nikša Sviličić ; Institute for Anthropological Research, Zagreb, Croatia
Pero Maldini ; University of Dubrovnik, Department of Communication Science, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Fulltext: english, pdf (135 KB) pages 725-738 downloads: 1.005* cite
APA 6th Edition
Sviličić, N. & Maldini, P. (2014). Political Myths and Totalitarianism: An Anthropological Analysis of Their Causal Interrelationship. Collegium antropologicum, 38 (2), 725-738. Retrieved from https://hrcak.srce.hr/127615
MLA 8th Edition
Sviličić, Nikša and Pero Maldini. "Political Myths and Totalitarianism: An Anthropological Analysis of Their Causal Interrelationship." Collegium antropologicum, vol. 38, no. 2, 2014, pp. 725-738. https://hrcak.srce.hr/127615. Accessed 28 Mar. 2020.
Chicago 17th Edition
Sviličić, Nikša and Pero Maldini. "Political Myths and Totalitarianism: An Anthropological Analysis of Their Causal Interrelationship." Collegium antropologicum 38, no. 2 (2014): 725-738. https://hrcak.srce.hr/127615
Harvard
Sviličić, N., and Maldini, P. (2014). 'Political Myths and Totalitarianism: An Anthropological Analysis of Their Causal Interrelationship', Collegium antropologicum, 38(2), pp. 725-738. Available at: https://hrcak.srce.hr/127615 (Accessed 28 March 2020)
Vancouver
Sviličić N, Maldini P. Political Myths and Totalitarianism: An Anthropological Analysis of Their Causal Interrelationship. Collegium antropologicum [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2020 March 28];38(2):725-738. Available from: https://hrcak.srce.hr/127615
IEEE
N. Sviličić and P. Maldini, "Political Myths and Totalitarianism: An Anthropological Analysis of Their Causal Interrelationship", Collegium antropologicum, vol.38, no. 2, pp. 725-738, 2014. [Online]. Available: https://hrcak.srce.hr/127615. [Accessed: 28 March 2020]

Abstracts
This paper discusses the key political, anthropological and socio-cultural functions of political myths in the appearance and functioning of totalitarian regimes. A special emphasis is put on structural elements of the myth (mythemes) and the mythic content (narratives) in the processes of artificial construction of a new society (community) based on the myth-inspired ideological postulates. The paper argues that the establishment of totalitarianism marked a certain anthropological devolution. This devolution, in turn, proceeds through the deconstruction of civil society as an organic social sphere and the artificial construction of a new political community based on ideological postulates and political myths. In support of this assertion, it is first shown how the mythical narratives – transformed into political concepts and programs–were the basis of (re)interpretation of the world, society and individual, and essentially determined the nature and functioning of the totalitarian regimes. Then, the specific political myths are analyzed and compared, as well as their content and origin, and particularly their dual function. It in turn is analyzed in the framework of the classical society–community dichotomy, where the (civil) society is founded socio-politically on the social contract, and the (political) community socio-anthropologically on political myth. In a situation of identity and legitimacy crisis, anomie and the weakening of social cohesion – the characteristic conditions of the great economic and political crisis of the early twentieth century that enabled the emergence of totalitarianism – society as a contracting community does not work. A strong need for meaning (at the individual and societal level) affects the citizens' susceptibility to (political) concepts of (re)constitution of (political) community with which they can identify. Right there, totalitarian movements use the cohesive power of the political myth that replaces the rationally based constitution of society, and becomes a means of ideological mystification and political manipulation. Affecting the mind of the citizens, it moves their feelings and motivations and directs their behavior toward the goals of the totalitarian political power. Recent iterations of totalitarianism (Great-Serbian aggression), with the same tragic consequences, were a warning on the actuality of political myths and the danger of a resurgence of totalitarian tendencies.

Keywords
political anthropology; political myth; totalitarianism; mythemes; naratives; ideology; society; community; legend

Hrčak ID: 127615

URI
https://hrcak.srce.hr/127615

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