Repression and Reduction: The Apparatchik's Discourse in the Works of Ammianus Marcellinus, Denis Diderot, Victor Serge and George Orwell
In monopolizing political power, the state claims to possess the best idea towards leading a society and solving its problems. While these claims may vary according to regime, all face the eventual failure of expectation on the part of its subjects. No regime can master all the variables in running the country, and so it must convince their subjects otherwise of its legitimacy, despite the reality of their failure. The apparatchiks discourse is the interaction of the states discourse and that of its institutions. This discourse is used to uphold the states legitimacy through the expertise of its institutions. The most insidious application of this involves attacking dissidents who point out the states failure. Paul Ricoeur, in his work on character and identity, demonstrated the tension between two halves of human personality, the ipse, which is initiated by the self, and the idem, by society. The apparatchiks discourse can attack this ipse and try to reduce the dissident to a state derived idem. Thus the discourse becomes a weapon in the struggle between the state and the dissident.
This dissertation examines the apparatchiks discourse through the works of four authors, Victor Serges Ville Conquise, Sil est minuit dans le siècle, and Laffaire Toulaév, Ammianus Marcellinus Res Gestae, Denis Diderots Essai sur la vie de Sénèque and Essai sur les règnes de Claude et de Néron, and George Orwells Burmese Days, Homage to Catalonia, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Despite the differences in time and culture, a thread runs through their works that reveals a continuous form in this discourse in political activity and, more importantly, in the lives of individual people. Despite this similarity, there is an important degree of difference between these works. Some texts explore the discourse as a means of understanding political activity and its role in human lives, while others use it both to destroy and uphold specific people. Lastly, some try to banish the discourse completely. Through these similarities and differences, this study will explore the use, abuse, and impact of the apparatchiks discourse on representations of the individual.
Advisor:Alexandre Leupin; Adelaide Russo; Steven Ross; Sylvia Parsons; Michelle Zerba
School:Louisiana State University in Shreveport
School Location:USA - Louisiana
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:comparative literature interdepartmental program
Date of Publication:11/17/2006