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On-line version ISSN 2448-5799Print version ISSN 1405-1435


BLANCO RIVERO, José Javier. Conceptual and social history of totalitarianism. A theoretical-methodological proposal. Convergencia [online]. 2018, vol.25, n.76, pp.99-118. ISSN 2448-5799.

Our goal is to propose a theoretical-methodological approach for the study of Intellectual History in order to provide an explanation of the inter-relationships between social and semantic change translating such reflections into a set of tools for historic research. For that purpose, the distinction semantics/social structure —elaborated by Niklas Luhmann in his sociology of knowledge— is taken and re-described by introducing the distinction between information and meaning. The aforementioned theoretical frame is put to the test by making a sketch of a conceptual and social history of totalitarianism. It will be concluded that the concept of totalitarianism allows accounting for how meaning self-organizes following a historical dynamic of its own, in spite that no meaning at all can be produced out of social systems and the codes they employ to process information. Intellectual history is written simultaneously on both registers of information and meaning.

Keywords : semantics; social structure; social systems; conceptual history; totalitarianism.

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