Politics of Ideocracy

By Jaroslaw Piekalkiewicz & Alfred Wayne Penn

Subjects: History
Paperback : 9780791422984, 274 pages, February 1995
Hardcover : 9780791422977, 274 pages, February 1995

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Table of contents



Chapter I. Ideocracy as a Distinctive Form of Politics

What Is Ideocracy?

Ideocracy Distinguished

Intellectual Origins of Ideocracy

Organic and Mechanical (Pragmatic) Concepts of the State

Politics and Problem Solving

Community and Ideology

Ideocracy Described

Chapter II. Psychological and Cultural Aspects of Ideocracy

Traditional Culture and Divergent Individual Propensities

Chapter III. Ideocratic Framework of Politics

The Foundations of Legitimacy

The Organization of Political Leadership

The Penetration of Political and Social Organizations

The Nature and Scope of Political Involvement: Total Mobilization

The Major Components of Ideocracy

Chapter IV. Causes of Ideocracy


Types of Social Disruption

Multipliers of Cumulative Disruption

Leadership, Ideology, and Organization

Scenario of Ideocratic Revolution

Chapter V. Ideocracy in Dynamic Perspective: Inception and Stabilization


Inception of Ideocracy


Chapter VI. The Evolution of Ideocracy


Peaceful Erosion


Conclusion: Ideocracy and Processes of Dynamic Change





Explains why and how ideocratic and totalitarian governments emerge, establish themselves, evolve, eventually collapse, and disintegrate or transform themselves into new ideocracies.


Expanding upon the concept of totalitarianism, this study introduces the concept of ideocracy to encompass all those political systems that legitimize their actions by reference to an all-inclusive utopian ideology. It distinguishes pluralist systems, marked by competing schools of thought, from monistic systems in which a utopian ideology is dominant. Focusing on twentieth-century regimes, the authors develop Weberian ideal-type models to clarify different forms of ideocracy and pluralism; explore the ideal-type model of ideocracy; and analyze the dynamics of political life using models that allow readers to examine the contradictions and evolutionary paths of specific political systems. In addition, they examine diverse psychological, social, and environmental factors in analyzing the emergence of ideocracies and their subsequent evolution and emphasize that although these systems may persist for extended periods, they may also evolve into other forms of government through processes ranging from radical transformation to gradual erosion.

Jaroslaw Piekalkiewicz is Distinguished Professor of Western Civilization in the Department of Political Science at the University of Kansas. Alfred Wayne Penn is Professor of Public Administration and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Sangamon State University.


"This book helps the reader to understand why and how ideocratic/totalitarian governments emerge, establish themselves, evolve, and eventually collapse, disintegrate, or transform themselves into new ideocracies. It helps comprehend past and present ideocratic governments and provides fine conceptual tools for identifying early signs of incipient ideocracies. It is interesting, full of important insights, and clearly written and organized. " — Maria Los, University of Ottawa

"This book's real novelty is the proposal to use the term 'ideocracy' not only as a description of a distinctive feature of classical totalitarianism but as a wider typological category. I see this as a truly innovative and valuable contribution to comparative politics. " — Andrezj Walicki, O'Neill Chair of History, University of Notre Dame