“For somehow this is tyranny's disease, to trust no friends”―Aeschylus (“Prometheus Bound”)
Dictatorships —and their foreign intellectual defenders— have traditionally been studied mostly by historians, politologists, sociologists, philosophers, and even novelists (e.g., Gann, 1985; Hamill, 1965; Hollander, 1997; P. Lewis, 2006; Turits, 2003; Vargas-LLosa, 2000; Wiarda, 1968). Yet, as a specialist in Legal-Political Anthropology, I have been “fantasizing” about creating the sub-field of the “Anthropology of Dictatorships.” The discipline’s eclectic comparative and field-based research techniques are distinctively equipped to examine dictatorships in a rather objective fashion. Unfortunately, too many colleagues miss the point as they seem to romanticize some of these dreadful regimes, Socialist Cuba being the major example.(3) Nonetheless, this essay is intended as a modest contribution toward the design of the Anthropology of Dictatorships.
My primary purpose here is twofold: (a) First, to outline —if barely— some of the most salient similarities vis-à-vis the methods of socio-political-economic control of two notorious insular Hispanic Caribbean dictatorships, one that fortunately disappeared in 1961, and the other that still lingers in existence. (b) And second, to seek feedback from readers for the sake of improving my future analyses on this topic.
II. A PRELIMINARY TYPOLOGY OF DICTATORSHIPS
In simple operational terms, and although there are sub-categories according to variations, we can classify dictatorships into two major types for our purpose here:
(A)Authoritarian: often intended (or pretending) to be of a relatively temporary duration, usually with a rather vague ideology, little mass mobilization, and limited interference in the economy.
(B)Totalitarian: that aims to exercise absolute, centralized control over the country’s inhabitants; i.e., to virtually convert the whole country into what sociologists call a total institution <www.thefreedictionary. com/Totalitarian+dictators>.
Yet, some dictatorships, such as that of the Trujillos in the Dominican Republic (D.R.), have been routinely classified as authoritarian. But, as I have been arguing in previous writings, upon close analysis the Trujillos’ dictatorship resembled more the totalitarian genre. At the same time, certain so-called revolutionary regimes, such as that of the Castro family in Cuba, are too often portrayed in the media, academia and Hollywood as “liberating,” when au contraire, they belong in reality to the totalitarian genre.Add a comment Leer más...