Hannah Arendt, education, and the question of totalitarianism

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The aim of this paper is to consider the ways in which Arendt's writings on totalitarianism act as a warning sign for political and miseducational circumstances in the USA. Because the term totalitarianism has been used imprudently (largely in the mass media) to express repressive conditions in so-called models of democracy, this paper seeks to both clarify and raise questions concerning its meaning as a form of nation-state-sanctioned power and/or economic-technological force. This analysis draws largely from Arendt's definition of totalitarianism expressed as an antipolitical phenomenon characterized by terror-ruled ideological indoctrination which destroys both the public realm and the private identities. I contend that analyses of twentieth-century totalitarianism are significant to today's unprecedented questions and circumstances germinating in and having significance beyond the USA. I also describe the difficulty of action under extreme conditions. In the last analysis, I deliberate on the site of education as a totalitarian coercion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-101
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Linguistics and Language


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