Introduction: Mass Dictatorship and the Radical Project for Modernity

  • Michael Kim
  • Michael Schoenhals
Part of the Mass Dictatorship in the Twentieth Century book series (MASSD)


As a twentieth-century phenomenon, mass dictatorship developed its own modern socio-political engineering system, which sought to achieve the self-mobilisation of the masses for radical state projects. In this sense, it shares a similar mobilisation mechanism with its close cousin, mass democracy. Mass dictatorship requires the modern platform of the public sphere to spread its clarion call for the masses to overcome their collective crisis. Far from being a phenomenon that emerged from pre-modern despotic practices, mass dictatorship reflects the global proliferation of quintessential modernist assumptions about the transformability of the individual. Mass dictatorship therefore utilises the utmost modern practices to form totalitarian cohesion and to stage public spectacles in the search for extremist solutions to perceived social problems.


Public Sphere Colonial Power Weimar Republic Western Colonial Classical Modernity 
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  1. 1.
    Jie-Hyun Lim, ‘Mapping Mass Dictatorship: Towards a Transnational History of Twentieth-Century Dictatorship’, in Jie-Hyun Lim and Karen Petrone, eds, Gender Politics and Mass Dictatorship: Global Perspectives (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 3–4.Google Scholar

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© Michael Kim, Michael Schoenhals and Yong-Woo Kim 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Kim
  • Michael Schoenhals

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