restricted access The Paranoid State
Abstract

While political psychologists and philosophers have extensively analyzed Foucauldian interpretations of authoritarian state control, little research has explored domination through surveillance in potentially paranoid political systems. Combining the clinical and non-clinical approaches to paranoia with a philosophical model of post-totalitarian legitimacy games, this article develops a normatively significant theory of the paranoid state. The application of the theory to the study of Belarus uncovers four elements sustaining the paranoid state: excessive order, rumination (dwelling on paranoid suspicions without expressing them to others), emulation (of others who behave in a paranoid way), and memory abuse. The article concludes by examining strategies to exit the state of paranoia, such as the diversification of arts and historical memory.


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