Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions


Review and Comments by Tom Baugh

Print version ISSN: 1469-0764


Online version (ISSN: 1743-9647)



The world never seems to lack for authoritarian and
totalitarian movements. Whatever the symbol on the flag, buried
somewhere deep or right up front in these movements, will be the
institutions and representatives of organized religion. At the root of
every demonization, ethnic cleansing, pogrom, or holocaust stands the
structure and leadership of one religion or another, whether it is
‘established, ‘New,’ or ‘political.’ The journal ‘Totalitarian
Movements and Political Religions’ deals with these often complex

The Commissioning and Founding Editor of TMPR is Robert
Mallett (University of Birmingham, UK), while the Managing Editorship
of TMPR rotates between Roger Griffin (Oxford Brookes University, UK)
and Matthew Feldman (University of Northhampton, UK), assisted by Paul
Jackson and Tudor Georgescu, both Oxford Brookes research students.

TMPR covers “a wide range of contemporary examples of
‘totalitarian movements’ driven by variants of religious politics.” In
this regard, the journal is committed to covering both historical and
contemporary phenomena, "considering totalitarianism not just from the
perspective of the protagonists, but also from that of the victims of
their social or racial utopianism…”. TMPR encourages interdisciplinary
perspectives in “mapping fruitful areas of synergy between different
subject areas and specialisms.”

The journal offers special collections of papers either
as ‘Special Issues’ or in ‘Featured Sections.’ For example, issue 1 of
volume 8 hosted papers dealing with totalitarian aspects of jihadist
Islam. Earlier issues in volume 8 included a focus on Christianity and
fascism with titles such as ‘On the Side of Christ, Fascist clerics in
1930’s Britain,’ and ‘The Nazis ‘Positive Christianity,’ A variety of
Clerical Fascism.’ Over the years, other special features have included
articles on ‘Political Religion and the Sacralization of Politics,’ the
role of religion in consensus-building under mass dictatorships, and
‘Heroisation and Demonisation.’ Totalitarian movements in Europe, East
Asia, and recently, West Asia have been considered. Future issues of
TMPR will “present different permutations of ‘special issue/featured
issue/and normal issue’ and include analysis of political religion in
“inter-war and post-war Japan” as well as articles on politicized
religion or sacralized politics in areas such as Latin America, South
Africa, and Israel.

As for the coverage of political religion in the United
States, the current issue (9.1) contains an article on the Christian
Identity movement and an article on David Lane, a figure crucial to the
White Power movement, is forthcoming. We can hope that the ongoing
historical contest between democratic institutions and movements and
corporatism/fascism in the United States will garner additional
attention from TMPR, given the continued collapse of the always dubious
separation of ‘church and state’ in the US republic. Given the focus of
the Interdisciplinary Initiative at the Green Institute, we would be
remiss in not suggesting that the editors at TMPR might also wish to
give some attention to the intersection of religion, governance, and
environment, especially at this time of forecast environmental crisis.

I’m pleased to recommend this journal to those with an
interest in the increasing comingling of religion with the political.
TMPR is published four times a year by the Taylor and Francis Group and
is now in its ninth volume. Current (2008) personal subscriptions costs
for the print edition are 75 (GDP), 116 (USD), and 93 (EUR).
Institutional print and online subscriptions are also available. A free
sample copy of the journal can be obtained from

Please cite this review as follows:

Baugh, Tom. 2008. Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions-A Journal Review. The Green Institute.