Mass Dictatorship: A Transnational Formation of Modernity

  • Jie-Hyun Lim
Part of the Mass Dictatorship in the Twentieth Century book series (MASSD)


The term ‘mass dictatorship’ implies the attempted mobilisation of the masses and puts forth the position that dictatorships frequently secured voluntary mass participation and support.1 The peculiarity of mass dictatorship as a twentieth-century phenomenon can be found in its modern socio-political engineering system, which aims at the voluntary enthusiasm and self-mobilisation of the masses for state projects, the same goal shared by mass democracies. Mass dictatorship appropriates modern statecraft and egalitarian ideology and pretends to be a dictatorship from below; the study of this phenomenon needs to be situated as a broader transnational formation of modernity. Mass dictatorship as a working hypothesis denies the diffusionist conception of modernity as a movement from the centre to the periphery. Rather, it focuses on the transnational aspects of modernity through global connections and interactions of the centre and periphery, and of democracy and dictatorship.


Dependency Theory Class Struggle National Liberation British Empire Colonial Subject 
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  • Jie-Hyun Lim

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