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Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, and the Social Sciences$
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Peter Baehr

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804756501

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804756501.001.0001

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Ideology, Terror, and the “Mysterious Margin”

Ideology, Terror, and the “Mysterious Margin”

Raymond Aron versus Hannah Arendt

(p.62) § 3 Ideology, Terror, and the “Mysterious Margin”
Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, and the Social Sciences
Stanford University Press

Raymond Aron believed that the principal axis of division between totalitarianism and constitutional pluralism lay in the role of the political party. Hannah Arendt, by contrast, had little to say about political parties, unless it was to contrast them invidiously with the spontaneous participation of revolutionary councils. Where Arendt saw unprecedented events, Aron stressed the dynamic between continuity and “mutation,” social logic and chance, necessity and accident, process and drama. This chapter suggests that Aron offers a subtle, sober, and logical account of totalitarianism in which the tools of political sociology are employed to impressive effect, and does not deny the reality of the political.

Keywords:   Aron vs Arendt, Bolshevism, totalitarianism, constitutional pluralism, political sociology

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