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English citations of thanatocracy

Noun: "nominal governance by a dead person"[edit]

2001 2005
ME « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.
  • 2001 — Christopher Hitchens, "Visit to a Small Planet", Vanity Fair, January 2001:
    Kim Jong Il, incidentally, has been made head of the party and of the army, but the office of the presidency is still “eternally” held by his adored and departed dad, who died on July 8, 1994, at 82. (The Kim is dead. Long live the Kim.) This makes North Korea the only state in the world with a dead president. What would be the right term for this? A necrocracy? A thanatocracy? A mortocracy? A mausolocracy?
  • 2005 — Gilbert Weiss, "The (Anti-)Eschatological Perspective in Sigmund Freud's Psychoanalysis", in Philosophy, Literature, and Politics: Essays Honoring Ellis Sandoz (ed. Charles R. Embry & Barry Cooper), University of Missouri Press (2005), →ISBN, page 73:
    In this essay, I have tried to show how eschatologically different, for instance, psychoanalysis and Marxism are. What all three of these movements, nevertheless, have in common is more or less strongly pronounced aesthetics of thanatocracy. Let us listen to the surrealists again: "L'amour morte va embellir le peuple." This is the epigram of the death cult — in Freud as well as in the surrealistic staging of death in the communist veneration of Lenin; unsurprisingly, it is found in the poem "Exquisite Corpses."

Noun: "the enactment of mass and organized killing as an official policy of a state"[edit]

1988 1997 1998 2000 2002
ME « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.
  • 1988 — Warren K. Thompson, "Ethics, Evil, and the Final Solution", in Echoes from the Holocaust: Philosophical Reflections on a Dark Time (ed. Alan Rosenberg & Gerald E. Meyers), Temple University Press (1988), →ISBN, page 191:
    Whatever the uncertainty as to what precisely lead Germany to genocide and to the creation of a literal thanatocracy in occupied Europe, it is clear that an ethical and valuational failure of great magnitude occured.
  • 1997 — David Craig, "Psychoanalytic Sociology and the Holocaust", in Violence, Culture and Censure (ed. Colin Sumner), Taylor & Francis (1997), →ISBN, page 60:
    The Holocaust was perhaps the most graphic demonstration of the hopes of the Enlightenment being destroyed, of life consuming itself, of the manifestation of a Thanatocracy.
  • 1998 — Gwenda Morgan & Peter Rushton, Rogues, Thieves and the Rule of Law: The Problem of Law Enforcement in North-East England, 1718-1800, Routledge (1998), →ISBN, page 134:
    If Linebaugh is right, the attempt to cow the people of London with a "thanatocracy", that is, repetitive exhibitions of large numbers of hangings, failed in the face of class hostility, and in Laqueur's view this was partly because the poorly organized and haphazardly performed hangings allowed the crowd to reclaim the event as a carnival of their own making.
  • 2000 — Constantine George Caffentzis, Exciting the Industry of Mankind: George Berkeley's Philosophy of Money, Kluwer Academic Publishers (2000), →ISBN, page 143:
    Berkley refused Lockean "thanatocracy" and Pettyian genocide for the Irish poor. As a substitute he chose a very visible slavery. The state's slaves were not to be kept behind bars or high walls, to be panoptically viewed by a central hidden observer. Criminalized workers would be ostentatiously displayed "chained in pairs kept at hard labour" so that the spectacle could be "very edifying to the multitude." Thus, instead of the "thanatocratic" gallows meant to terrorize or fortify the viewer, the "chain gang" was to be the Irish spectacle of order.
  • 2002 — Timothy V. Kaufman-Osborn, From Noose to Needle: Capital Punishment and the Late Liberal State, University of Michigan Press (2002), →ISBN, page 68:
    No matter what the exact number, it seems evident that the noose was inseparable from the absolutist state's effort to consolidate its authority; and so it is not altogether implausible, as does Peter Linebaugh, to label the English political order during this era a "thanatocracy".

Noun: "the enactment of policies held to lead, directly or indirectly, to death or an increased risk of death"[edit]

1976 1992 1998 2000 2008
ME « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.
  • 1976 — Suzanne Brøgger, Deliver Us From Love, Delacorte Press (1976; trans. Thomas Teal), →ISBN, page 275:
    Since most people are agreed that the world should be different — either because it is out of order, or else because it has not yet really begun — and since quite a few people believe that we suffer from an overdose of masculine initiative and that we ought to encourage a different world view from the one expressed by the present thanatocracy, I would like in passing to propose a miniexperiment.
  • 1992 — Daniel Harris, "The AIDS Guerrillas : ACCEPTABLE RISKS, By Jonathan Kwitny (Poseidon: $24; 384 pp.)", Los Angeles Times, 1 November 1992:
    Kwitny's account of the medical gridlock that has paralyzed Washington during the Bush and Reagan Administrations provides a bleak picture of the indecisiveness and passivity of federal officials, whom many gay activists have described as the bureaucratic instruments of nothing less than a Republican thanatocracy.
  • 1998 — "Arming the Educators Invites More Violence", The Pantagraph, 29 June 1998:
    Instructing the principals of America in the use of firearms is not the answer to the tragic outbreak of school shootings ("School administrators need firearms training," Letters, June 25).
    What does this particular solution say about our society as a whole? I sincerely hope that we have not relegated ourselves to this type of violent thanatocracy. This isn't "Gangbusters."
  • 2000 — Mohammed Bedjaoui, "The Fundamentals of Preventative Diplomacy", in Preventative Diplomacy: Stopping Wars Before They Start (ed. Kevin M. Cahill), Routledge (2000), →ISBN, page 33:
    However, man had learned to live in the shadow of the nuclear threat; this threat ultimately came to form part of the human condition. And while the death-dealing system was being created, while the universal government of death, this thanatocracy, thus enveloped the world, the spontaneous instinct of self-preservation prescribed the survival of the human species by a balance of terror and nuclear deterrence.
  • 2000 — Inez van der Spek, Alien Plots: Female Subjectivity and the Divine in the Light of James Tiptree's A Momentary Taste of Being, Liverpool University Press (2000), →ISBN, pages 149-150:
    The apocalypses of science fiction appear as the product of what Thomas calls, using an expression from Michael Serres, the same 'thanatocracy' that is responsible for the arms race and other devastating manifestations of Western civilization.
  • 2008 — "Only a totalitarian states gives cover for death, warns Spanish bishop", Catholic News Agency, 28 July 2008:
    In an interview with the newspaper ABC, Bishop Pla commented on proposals by the Spanish government to liberalize abortion laws and legalize euthanasia. “A democratic and social state has the duty to protect the poorest and the weakest, which include the unborn, the handicapped, the elderly and the terminally ill. When the state, instead of protecting the weakest, provides legal cover for the culture of death, it automatically is transformed into a totalitarian state, the foundations of coexistence are broken and a society of death, a true thanatocracy (a government run by death), emerges.”

Noun: "a culture in which rituals relating to the dead play a unique or important role"[edit]

1978 2004 2011
ME « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.
  • 1978 — Rosemary Radford Ruether, "Rich Nations/ Poor Nations: Towards a Just World Order in the Era of Neo-Colonialism", in Christian Spirituality in the United States: Independence and Interdependence (ed. Francis E. Eigo & Silvio Fittipaldi), Villanova University Press (1978), page 88:
    Exodus from Egypt means a departure from the thanatocracy where all our energies are expended on building the tombs of mummified eternal death.
  • 2004 — Robert H. Moser, "The Carnivalesque Defuncto", in Images of the Corpse: From the Renaissance to Cyberspace (ed. Elizabeth Klaver), University of Wisconsin Press (2004), →ISBN, page 109:
    The festivities marking the Day of the Dead in Mexico and Juan Rulfo's novel Pedro Páramo (1955) are two examples that spring to mind and that lend further weight to Cícero's comment in Incidente em Antares about the dead's unique position in Latin America: "Here in our small thanatocracy we enjoy absolute freedom to think and speak our mind, a rare thing indeed in today's so-called Latin America".
  • 2011 — Didier Maleuvre, The Horizon: A History of Our Infinite Longing, University of California Press (2011), →ISBN, page 15:
    This may be why, despite its bloated class of priests, scribes, and administrators, the Egyptian thanatocracy showed little inclination to innovate in intellectual matters.

Noun: "endemic stagnation or decay"[edit]

ME « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.
  • 2000 — David Solway, The Turtle Hypodermic of Sickenpods: Liberal Studies in the Corporate Age, McGill's-Queen's University Press (2000), →ISBN, page 16:
    [] if it neglects to maintain the physical plant which is decaying visibly and shockingly around us while refusing to upgrade the indispensable resources of teaching and learning — textbooks, encyclopedias, atlases, journals, scientific apparatus, that is, libraries and laboratories — then it is nothing more than an outright deception. As such, it remains a disingenuous exercise in crude politics, a blatant cultural scam which will do nothing but accelerate our already precipitous descent into mediocrity, incompetence, and desuetude. In short, it will become nothing more than the new thanatocracy of learning.