Date of Award

Fall 2007

Project Type


Program or Major

Justice Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts


This thesis examines the dangers posed by totalitarianism in the modern age by bringing the philosophies of Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault together in dialogue. It aims to compare and contrast their respective philosophies as a way of responding to the challenges posed by totalitarianism to democratic culture. While there are clear resonances in their analyses Arendt and Foucault are rarely brought together, much to the detriment of political theory. The thesis is based on a textual analysis of Arendt and Foucault's major works and is organized into three chapters and an introduction. Chapter one gives an overview of Arendt's critique of and response to modernity. Chapter two does the same for Foucault. Chapter three critically compares and synthesizes Arendt and Foucault, and argues for a new form of democratic citizenship by combining the rich sense of solidarity offered by Arendt and the irony offered by Foucault.