The article is a critical examination of Michel-Rolph Trouillot's conceptualization of the Duvalierist regime as a form of totalitarianism. It argues that while the regime was a brutal and extreme form of dictatorship, it was not a totalitarian system. It lacked the bureaucratic capacity and the totalizing ideology to impose its total control over the Haitian population. In fact, the totalitarian paradigm obscures rather than illuminates Trouillot's otherwise powerful analysis of Duvalierism and its contradictions.

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