Fascism and Political Theory: Critical Perspectives on Fascist Ideology

Fascism and Political Theory: Critical Perspectives on Fascist Ideology

Fascism and Political Theory: Critical Perspectives on Fascist Ideology

Fascism and Political Theory: Critical Perspectives on Fascist Ideology

Synopsis

Fascism and Political Theory offers both students and researchers a thematic analysis of fascism, focusing on the structural and ideological links between fascism, capitalism and modernity. Intended as a critical discussion of the origins and development of fascist ideology, each chapter deals with a core substantive issue in political theory relevant to the study of fascism and totalitarianism, beginning with an assessment of the current state of debate.

The emphasis on formal ideology in contemporary Anglo-American historiography has increased our awareness of the complexity and eclectic nature of fascist ideologies which challenge liberalism and social democracy. Yet in too many recent works, a programmatic or essentialist reading of fascist ideology as a 'secular religion' is taken for granted, while researchers remain preoccupied with the search for an elusive 'fascist minimum'.

In this book Woodley emphasizes that many outstanding questions remain, including the structural and ideological links between fascism and capitalism, the social construction of fascist nationalism, and the origins of fascist violence in European colonialism. This volume consolidates the reader's theoretical understanding and provides the interdisciplinary skills necessary to understand the concrete social, economic and political conditions which generate and sustain fascism.

A timely critique of culturalist and revisionist approaches in fascism studies which provides a concise overview of theoretical debates between liberalism, Marxism and poststructuralism, this text will be of great interest to students of politics, modern history and sociology.

Excerpt

This study is intended as a critical introduction to the origins and development of fascist ideology, and will be of interest to students and researchers working in the fields of politics, history and historical sociology. The aim is to consolidate students’ theoretical understanding, and to help students acquire the interdisciplinary skills necessary to understand the concrete social, economic and political conditions which generate and sustain fascism. The text also offers students a critical resource to challenge revisionist approaches in fascist studies. In too many standard texts, a programmatic or essentialist reading of fascist ideology as a ‘secular religion’ is taken for granted, while researchers remain preoccupied with the search for an elusive ‘fascist minimum’. The emphasis on formal ideology in contemporary historiography has increased our awareness of the complexity and eclectic nature of fascist ideologies which challenge liberalism and social democracy; but many outstanding questions remain, including the relationship between fascism and modernism, the structural and ideological links between fascism and capitalism, the origins of fascist violence, and the link between fascism and masculinity.

The text begins with a critical overview of the debate on fascism, before turning to the core substantive themes in the discussion of fascism and political theory. Chapter 2 examines ideological positions in the debate on fascism, rationality and modernity, looking at the work of key fascist intellectuals. The aim is to locate fascism within the ideological spectrum by examining its philosophical sources and cultural dynamics, to demarcate fascism from liberalism, conservatism and socialism, and to assess the economic and cultural significance of fascist modernism. Chapter 3 examines the central problem of the relation between fascism and social structure, asking whether support for fascist movements is linked to class or whether fascism can be explained as a pathology of industrial modernity, while Chapter 4 examines the relationship between fascism and the state, focusing on the tension between ideological hegemony and political sovereignty, and the exceptional nature of ‘totalitarian’ rule. This theme is continued in the discussion of violence in Chapter 5: fascism is often associated with the glorification of U">INTRODUCTION

The history of criminology is a fascinating one. It is a story of humankind’s attempts to systematically study and understand the human capacity for crime and transgression. It provides a moral account of modernity and as such offers insight into the core meaning and value of humanity in our times. It is strange, then, that the story of criminology that unfolds in so many textbooks is often a rather formulaic, almost soulless one. This being the case, the invitation to edit this book was a difficult one to refuse. Our goal is to help enliven and humanise the story of criminology through the power of intellectual biographies, mixing life-story detail with analytical reflection on the contributions of 50 of criminology’s important thinkers. We hope that this alternative introduction to criminology is of value to new students of the subject, and those in cognate areas of study like sociology, psychology, social geography or history, seeking to grasp the ‘lay of the land’ in our somewhat exotic field of research. Equally, we hope the book will also inspire debate and discussion within criminology itself. The major works of those thinkers profiled herein will be largely familiar to those with expertise in criminology . . .

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