Georgi Gerjikov

Italiano: Mobilitazione totale

English: Total Mobilization

French: Mobilisation totale

Spanish: Movilización total

Origin of the term

The concept “total mobilization” appeared in the 1920s and 1930s texts of the German thinker Ernst Jünger. According to Jünger the devastation that the war leads to has become part of the planning and rational administration of production in developed countries (Costea [5]). The Italian philosopher Maurizio Ferraris has borrowed the term [Maurizio Ferraris, Mobilitazione totale, 2015] to describe the contemporary situation in which military conflicts are much rarer, but more and more individuals use digital technologies that “mobilize” people to constantly reply to various messages, diluting the boundaries between working and free time. 


Maurizio Ferraris explains social phenomena through the influence of documents keeping the collective memory (Ferraris [1], [2]; Ferraris has been influenced both by Derrida and by his philosophical opponent John Searle). In the age of radio and television social relations changed more quickly that before because of the rapid spread of new information content. But the separate individual could still step away from information streams by simply not paying attention to them. This is no longer possible nowadays – more and more people rely on mobile devices for their everyday activities, devices that in real time receive calls and messages addressed to them, to which people feel forced to reply (Ferraris [3]: 15-20). Individuals are constantly “mobilized”, armed with digital devices that impose on them the responsibility to take part in the information exchange both in their working and free time (ibid.: 20-23). Ferraris analyses the various types of motivation that urge us to reply to calls and digital messages: the psychological one (collective pressure), the economical one (the capital), the technological one (the benefits of devices) and the anthropological one (our own addiction), All these factors affect our disposition to steer our behaviour (ibid.: 59-82).

Ferraris’s conclusion is not that this contemporary “mobilization” has led only to new ways in which people can be exploited even in their free time. Contrary to the trends in social philosophy from Marx and Weber to Lyotard and Habermas, Ferraris insists that new technologies are not the source of only alienation and the subjugation of human beings with respect to strict rational requirements. Just the opposite – new technologies have brought about much greater literacy among people than in the previous ages, which allows humankind to achieve things that were impossible before. The fate of the critically minded thinking person is less unattractive today than it was in the past: if earlier rebellious thinkers were sentenced to death because of their heretical views, today they are only forced to participate in an incessant information exchange with other people, even in their days off. That, according to Ferraris is a modest but indisputable progress (ibid.: 97-102).


The continuation of the Derridean idea of documents as a source of identity that Ferraris has realized with the concept of total mobilization has found its use in current attempts to comprehend the connection between law, culture and everyday life (Condello [4]).



  1. , M., 2011, Anima e iPad, Parma: Guanda
  2. Ferraris, M., 2014, “Total Mobilization”, in: Monist, vol. 97, 2: 200-221
  3. Ferraris, M., 2015, Mobilitazione totale, Bari: Laterza


  • Condello, A., 2018, “Contents, Introduction & Contributors”, in: Law Text Culture, 22: 1-4
  • Costea, B. & Amiridis, K., 2017, “Ernst Jünger, total mobilisation and the work of war”, in: Organization, vol. 24, 4: 475-490

How to Cite:

Gerjikov, Georgi (2021) Total Mobilization, in Thesaurus. Sofia University Dictionary of Philosophy. Online edition. Sofia: St. Kliment Ohridski University Press, 2021, ISSN 2815-2832.