Fanaticism is an emotion of being filled with excessive, uncritical zeal, particularly for an extreme religious or political cause or in some cases sports, or with an obsessive enthusiasm for a pastime or hobby. Philosopher George Santayana defines fanaticism as "redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim" [Santayana, George (1905). Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons) 13.] ; according to Winston Churchill, "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject". By either description the fanatic displays very strict standards and little tolerance for contrary ideas or opinions.

The difference between a fan and a fanatic is that while both have an overwhelming liking or interest in a given subject, behaviour of a fanatic will be viewed as violating prevailing social norms, while that of a fan will not violate those norms (although the person may be considered unusual). [cite journal | last = Thorne | first = Scott | coauthors = Bruner, Gordon C. | year = 2006 | title = An exploratory investigation of the characteristics of consumer fanaticism | journal = Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal | volume = 9 | issue = 1 | pages = 51–72 | issn = 1352-2752 | doi = 10.1108/13522750610640558 | url = ] A fanatic differs from a crank, in that a crank is defined as a person who holds a position or opinion which is so far from the norm as to appear ludicrous and/or provably wrong, such as a belief in widespread alien abduction. In contrast, the subject of the fanatic's obsession may be "normal", such as an interest in religion or politics, except that the scale of the person's involvement, devotion, or obsession with the activity or cause is abnormal or disproportionate.


* Consumer fanaticism - the level of involvement or interest one has in the liking of a particular person, group, trend, artwork or idea.
* Religious fanaticism - considered by some to be the most extreme form of religious fundamentalism.
* Political, ideological fanaticism.
* Ethnic, national, racial fanaticism.
* Leisure fanaticism - high levels of intensity, enthusiasm, commitment and zeal shown for one's leisure activities.
* Sports fanaticism - high levels of intensity during sporting activities. This is either done based on the belief that extreme fanaticism can alter games for one's favorite team (Ex: Knight Krew) [cite journal | last = Mackellar | first = J. | year = 2006 | title = Fans, fanatics or just good fun - travel behaviours of the leisure fanatic | journal = Journal of Vacation Marketing | volume = 12 | issue = 3 | pages = 195–217 | doi = 10.1177/1356766706064622 | url = ] , or because the person uses sports activities as an ultra-masculine "proving ground" for brawls, as in the case of football hooliganism.


* Haynal, A., Molnar, M. and de Puymege, G. 1987."Fanaticism. A Historical and Psychoanalytical Study".Schoken Books. New York.
* Rudin, J. 1969.Fanaticism. A psychological Analysis. University of Notre Dame Press. London.

ee also

*Religious fanaticism

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • fanaticism — fanatic ► NOUN 1) a person filled with excessive zeal, especially for an extreme political or religious cause. 2) informal a person with an obsessive enthusiasm for a pastime or hobby. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ filled with or expressing excessive zeal.… …   English terms dictionary

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