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Some considerations on the evolution of defining "fascism"

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Marin, Roxana

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Abstract "The present paper is an attempt to examine the fashion in which the concept of "fascism" was defined in successive historical periods, starting from 1932' Mussolini's essay to present the ideology he put forward and ending with the latest definitions of a mature Western scholarly, deprived of ideological biasness and struggling in philosophical cleavages and capable of understanding the subtleties of a phenomenon still problematic in definition and proper description. The paper briefly recapitulates the most significant contributions for the definition of "fascism" (of which a special place is occupied by the studies authored by S.G. Payne, Roger Griffin, Roger Eatwell, Robert Paxton, Walter Laqueur, G.L. Mosse, H.A. Turner), but it tackles also the problématique of "totalitarian studies", as developed in the 1950s and the 1960s by the renowned Hannah Arendt, Ernst Nolte, W. Sauer, C.J. Friedrich and Z. Brzezinski. For the sake of establishing patterns of definition in the case of "fascism", this paper traditionally discriminates between Marxist (Mason, Poulantzas, Renton, Kitchen, Betham, Vajda) and liberal interpretations (A. James Gregor, de Felice, Linz) of the concept; however, due to the sequence of the argument followed here, Marxist definitions might succeed liberal ones and conversely. The approach adopted does not seek to pillarize two allegedly antagonistic traditions of conceiving fascism, but to observe an evolution that both these traditions registered over sixty years of study. Lastly, in a quite short and yet lacunary theoretical undertaking, it inquires attempts to define fascism in Romania and fascist specificities in a setting dominated by backwardness, starting from the treatment given to this topic by Eugen Weber, Nicholas Nagy-Talavera and Henry L. Roberts.
Keywords fascism; totalitarianism; Marxism; ideology; political culture; political theory; historical development; political philosophy; liberalism
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Philosophy, Ethics, Religion
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 41-61
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 12 (2012) 1
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works