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Joachim Klose

In: 21st Century Anthropology: A Reference Handbook

Chapter 50: Open and Closed Societies

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Open and Closed Societies
Open and closed societies

Karl Raimund Popper first suggested the distinction between open and closed societies in his social philosophical work The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945/1993). He aimed to formulate a plea for rationality and freedom-one against all kinds of totalitarianism. Popper wrote as follows:

Neither the war nor any other contemporary event was explicitly mentioned in this book; but it was an attempt to understand those events and their background, and some of the issues which were likely to arise after the war was won. (1945/1993, Vol. 1, p. 6)

His considerations are, to a large degree, shaped by the examination of national socialism, as well as Stalinist totalitarianism.

Above all, Popper (1945/1993) radically opposed historicism and broke with the tradition of ...

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