Introduction: Wherever a Communist Party is at Work…

  • Kevin Morgan


Chapter 1 sets out the rationale for a transnational study of the cult of the individual. It also outlines the theoretical and empirical bases on which the present study has been attempted. Influential studies of the best-known communist leader cults have described these as a distinctive feature of ‘closed’ or totalitarian societies. In extending the discussion to the wider international communist movement, the importance is also highlighted here of a tradition of alternative, oppositional personality cults reaching back into the radical and socialist movements of the 19th century. The unevenness over time and place of communist personality cults thus requires a more nuanced and historicised account which allows for this basic tension between the veneration of ruling party leaders and the promotion of oppositional ‘tribune’ figures. Variations in the incidence and character of cultic types and practices will in this account be evaluated using the heuristic devices of the integrating and enkindling cult.


Communist Party Party Leader Cult Phenomenon Eastern Bloc Russian History 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Morgan
    • 1
  1. 1.Sch of Social Sci PoliticsUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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