totalitarianism

(noun) A system of centralized government in which the state has total authority over society and manipulates all aspects of culture including the arts, in order to control the private lives and morality of its citizens.

Audio Pronunciation: (to·tal·i·tar·ian·ism)

Download Audio Pronunciation: totalitarianism.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Totalitarianism is an extreme form of authoritarianism.
  • Totalitarianism uses cultural and moral effort to control the citizenry, while authoritarianism is based on submission to authority by the citizenry to a powerful cadre of leaders.
  • The possibility of totalitarianism ever existing or if it even could exist is oft discussed and fodder for fiction, including Ray Bradbury’s (1920–2012) Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and George Orwell’s (1903–1950) 1984 (1949).
  • Orwell ushered many terms into the communal lexicon, such as Big Brother, doublethink, and thoughtcrime.
  • Also called:
    • totalism
    • totalitarian rule

Additional Information:

Related Terms: 

 


Works Consulted

Ferrante, Joan. 2011a. Seeing Sociology: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Ferrante, Joan. 2011b. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Harper, Douglas. (N.d.) Online Etymology Dictionary. (http://www.etymonline.com/).

Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Hoad, T. F., ed. 1996. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2011. Sociology: The Core. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Jary, David, and Julia Jary. 2000. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd ed. Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins.

Kendall, Diane. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Kimmel, Michael S., and Amy Aronson. 2012. Sociology Now. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).

Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

O’Leary, Zina. 2007. The Social Science Jargon Buster: the Key Terms You Need to Know. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.

Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.

Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) Routledge Handbooks Online. (https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/).

Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

Wiley. (N.d.) Wiley Online Library. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/).

 

How to Cite the Definition of Totalitarianism

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “totalitarianism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 12, 2018 (https://sociologydictionary.org/totalitarianism/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

totalitarianism. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/totalitarianism/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “totalitarianism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 12, 2018. https://sociologydictionary.org/totalitarianism/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“totalitarianism.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2018. <https://sociologydictionary.org/totalitarianism/>.