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  2. What Is Fascism?
  3. Fascism - Wikipedia

Ask Seller a Question. We know a lot about the sociology of fascism, but how have sociologists responded to fascism when confronted with it in their own lives? How courageous or compromising have they been? And why has this history been shrouded in silence for so long? In this major work of historical scholarship sociologists from around the world describe and evaluate the reactions of sociologists to the rise and practice of fascism.

Over recent years there has been growing interest in the relations between academic intellectuals and professionals under the Nazi regime. Several works on Heidegger, Nazi doctors and Paul de Man have appeared. This book attempts to do for sociology what has been done for other fields: to demythologize the prewar role of sociologists and provide a serious historical basis for reflection on it. The myth is simple: that the noble and clear-sighted Frankfurt School was expelled by Hitler and raised the consciousness of the west.

Thr realities are considerably more complex. During and after the war, a consensus account of fascism emerged. But in the inter-war years sociologists misanalysed, misunderstood or supported fascism. The book examines the historical record in Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, the USA and the UK to provide a rich and at times perplexing account of sociologists and fascism.

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Orders usually ship within 2 business days. Shipping costs are based on books weighing 2. Why does Spann consider this approach completely inadequate? His philosophy is deeply rooted in idealism, and the idea that the essence of things may only be appreciated through inner experience. Empiricism may have proved to be successful with regard to external aspects of nature although it does not have the last word here, either , but with respect to society, which is not a natural fact but a fact of ideas, it must fail.

Idealistic philosophy, from Plato and Augustine to the scholastics, and even mystics, can give us better information about society than all of empirical and naturalistic sociology. Sociology is essentially a conceptual science: those who want to know something about society must conceive the essence of the Geist.

What Is Fascism?

The great achievement of German idealism and of the romantic school—Spann calls special attention to Fichte and Adam M ller—lies in the fact that they defended this fundamental stance against the doctrines of individualism, which were then becoming more and more influential. When this is done it may be shown that society is such a whole.

The basic concept of universalism is Gezweiung, i. This idealistic and romantic idea, best formulated poetically by Novalis, shows the inadequacy of individualism, which only knows complete, isolated people who have mutual effects on each other. Society is not something that comes into being because of interaction, but exists through Gezweiung. Spann considers the fact that society does not consist of the sum of all isolated individuals —these individuals only exist because they are parts or members of society—a presupposition of all authentic sociological science. By saying, as Aristotle already had, that the whole is prior to the part, Spann affirmed not a temporal but a logical priority.

Society as a spiritual community is not a metaphysical entity that independently lives a life of its own, any more than it would be possible for a human body to exist independently of the organs. Society depends on its parts and is expressed in its subtotalities. Spann regards this finding as strictly logical and scientific.

But the esoteric philosophy and theory of categories have a political bias. Geist is something that is hierarchically stratified. No Gezweiung can be based on equality. People cannot participate in the common spiritual life to the same degree. All social differentiations and hierarchies are or should be based on this stratification of mind. That is the reason why all attempts to establish equality are doomed in principle to failure.

What Is Fascism?

The universalistic characterization of the mind thus already contains the principle of inequality which Spann made the norm in social and political life. The solution to the problem of social order for the universalist is to build up a stratified society according to the scale of spiritual values. Starting from these presuppositions, Spann drafts a model of a perfect state, the establishment of which would put an end to the age of individualism. All the abuses and faults of capitalism and democracy will be eliminated through the reconstruction of society on an estate basis.

Spann distinguishes between spiritual and acting ranks: all ranks are of the same functional importance to the whole of society but they are not equivalent. Every low rank is spiritually led by the rank above it. Inferior people can only participate in the superior through adoration and devotion. The stratification of society is based on a ranking of values. These values must be protected because the destiny of society depends on the purity of values.

This means that in addition to the spiritual hierarchy there is, on a different level, a hierarchy of action. It is not necessary here to go into the details of the rank society envisioned by Spann.


Spann did not think much of his scientific colleagues and, when visited by the American sociologist Earle Edward Eubank in , spoke nearly exclusively of himself and his works K sler — He criticized contemporary sociology on the grounds that it concentrated on individualism and naturalism. Had Weber been really serious about his method of understanding, he should have entered into the spiritual content of religion, and taken into consideration the specifically spiritual state of mind.

On the contrary, his analysis is always concerned with the worldly consequences of religious acting. He never tries to understand the metaphysical secret of religion. Weber is an a-metaphysical man through and through: if such a person turns to religion, then a caustic rage for devastating the Holy will appear.

Spann accused Weber of atheism, scepticism, materialism, individualism and Marxism. From this Spann deduced that religion should have a privileged position in the state and it must never be declared a private matter. Since empiricist, individualistic and rationalistic sociology is not able to distinguish and to acknowledge the Holy as Holy, it leads to moral relativism, which has destructive effects on society.

The fight for the reconstruction of society thus does not permit relativism and pluralism in science, much less in culture.

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From this point of view it is only consistent that Spann was enthusiastic about the fact that certain books were thrown into bonfires by the Nazis in May He never doubted that the nation with the highest spiritual values was in the right and this nation was the German one. But they refused to do so. Thus they refused to abandon the inferior sect for the superior faith and civilization Spann — In one respect, however, his ideology was different from that of the Nazis. Since Spann started from the primacy of the mind he could not agree to racism, which proceeded from the supposition of biological determination.

He thought this to be too naturalistic and even though he did not deny completely the importance of racial characteristics, he considered them to be at most only of secondary importance in relation to the sphere of the mind. Spann did not completely lose his scholarly reputation when he made his political programme public. In , when the Fifth Convention of the German Sociological Society took place in Vienna, he was invited to give a lecture.

Naturally, his statements, in the section on methodology, all related to universalism.

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The general topic of the convention was democracy. But the participants succeeded in discussing this topic without referring explicitly to Spann, the deadly enemy of democracy.

Fascism - Wikipedia

In the university, his efforts were successful. Therefore it was important for him to follow political developments attentively and to take advantage of any opportunity to bring universalism into play as an alternative to the destructive spirit of individualism. When Italian fascism came into power in the s, it was welcomed by Spann and his followers who saw a chance of giving the movement, victorious through deeds, a theoretical and ideological basis.

In —29 Walter Heinrich published a series of articles about the political and economic constitution of fascism. In his introduction he refers to the fact that his knowledge does not derive only from written sources but was greatly enlarged by a stay in Italy and by personal acquaintance with leading men of fascism Heinrich — Heinrich judged the development of fascism from the point of view of universalism.

He acknowledged that the Duce had put Italy on the right road, but considered the political and economic constitution deficient. In particular, he thought that the fascist state interfered too much in the economy and prevented the creation of a decentralized system. Spann offered his model of the corporate state as this spiritual weapon Spann a. After the burning of the Justizpalast in , the political atmosphere was highly charged.

The anti-democratic forces in the Heimwehr, the united front consisting of middle-class, rural and aristocratic representatives, became stronger. The term implied the abolition of party rule, widely regarded as the root of political evil. Walter Heinrich and Hans Riehl assumed leading positions in the Heimwehr in , and organized the political training of the Heimwehr Siegfried In a programmatic lecture on the spiritual basis of the Heimwehr movement Heinrich explained that Austria was approaching a situation of decision in which the only choice was between Bolshevism and the corporate state Heinrich n.

The aspirations of the Spannians to become the ideological leaders of the Heimwehr were not fulfilled.

When during the discussion about the reform of the Austrian constitution in it became evident that the Heimwehr was not strong enough to realize its ideas, the different interests of the individual factions within the Heimwehr led to internal contests for power. A fresh impetus was given to the Spannians when in the Papal Encyclical Quadragesimo anno, in which the establishment of corporate bodies was demanded, was published.

Above all, the state still retained too much power, power that Spann thought should go to ranks Spann a. The Spannians found the Nazi movement congenial because, as they understood matters, the Nazi programme contained many of their own political aims. In , in the Auditorium maximum of the University of Munich, Spann gave a lecture on the cultural crisis of the present, in which he complained about the enormous influence of the Jews, especially in the field of philosophy. After the performance Hitler, who was present, congratulated the lecturer Siegfried At the end of , when the press agency Grossdeutscher Pressedienst reported that Spann was in agreement with the newly founded German Katholisch-Soziale Nationalpartei, Spann instructed his lawyer in Munich to demand a retraction.