Totalitarian ideologies which were used in European political discourse in the twentieth century to explain major historical changes have changed forever the relationship between the state and its citizens. The aspiration of the totalitarian state to acquire total control over individual lives through control of education, employment and health systems succeeded beyond anything perceived possible until then in any political regime after European Enlightenment. Nazism and Communism mobilized irrationally motivated mass support and won power in a very short time. Their success was partially based on a mass propaganda, using fear as primary instinctive argument against a picture of both external and internal enemies. The major focus of the course will be oriented towards topics trying to explain the reasons for mass support for totalitarian ideologies and states on the basis of individual psychology. We will examine psychological explanations of a self-victimization, role of a victim and a perpetrator, majority society response to mass human rights abuses and the abusive past. On this background a phenomenon of a political and cultural dissent will be introduced and discussed. The role of electronic mass media, anti-globalization movements and global terrorism are discussed as possible modern vehicles of totalitarian tendencies and reactions against them.
For the most up-to-date course schedule details and for information about NYU Prague, visit the NYU Prague homepage.