There are two ways to belittle, misjudge, or shrug off the significance of the Holocaust for sociology as the theory of civilization, of modernity, of modern. Modernity and the Holocaust. A. I). Moses. In his book, Murder in Our Mat: The Holocaust, Industrial Killing, and. Representation.1 the historian h e r Bartov has . Abstract When Zygmunt Bauman first published Modernity and the Holocaust. ( ) it elicited a variety of reactions among historians and sociologists. In his.
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DownloadZygmunt bauman modernity and the holocaust pdf. Free Download e- Books HKEY LOCAL MACHINE software microsoft shared tools msconfig. there is no inherent potential for a Holocaust in modern, rational, society. Rather, With the publication of Modernity and the Holocaust, Zygmunt Bauman drew. Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust (Polity Press, ). It is only in moments of raw awareness that any of the uncountable large and small scale.
That is, Hitler gave the goal: The means was left up to the bureaucrats. Bauman points out that the important, modern element of the Holocaust relates to the organization of the killing p.
The Holocaust needed this level of bureaucratic organization to accomplish the level of killing. This bureaucracy, however, is a necessary but not sufficient cause.
Social production of moral indifference.
Bauman argues, following Arendt, that there is a basic 'animal pity' that all humans have which makes it hard for us to hurt others. And even harder to kill others. Thus, there needs to be a mechanism which allows people to overcome this natural moral abhorrence of killing and violence. In this section, ZB Zigmunt Bauman discusses the process of moral distancing that allows people to commit the kind of crimes described in the book.
He starts by pointing out that Eichmann one of the architects of the Holocaust strategy defended himself by saying the deeds committed would have been praised if the Germans had won, and were condemned only because they had lost.
That is, that moral decisions are arbitrary and contextual. He uses this point to lead in the discussion that most people who acted in the Holocaust were 'normal' people, doing what was 'normal' in very abnormal conditions. He then identifies three conditions that erode moral inhibitions: Under a bureaucratic system, the inner organizational rules provide the moral context.
What is 'right' is following orders, and good bureaucrats do not worry about the substantive content of the order - that is what the superior is supposed to do.
Consider the feelings of Ohlendorf , a German commander, he said. He is giving up his own moral judgment to that of his commander. Authority serves to distance people from each other, and makes it easier to people to let go of the moral responsibility they would otherwise use this is part of the reason that people were not encouraged to kill at will - they were only supposed to act on orders.
Routinization takes the 'choice' part out of a situation where a moral choice should normally be made. By doing the same thing, over and over again, one is able to act without thinking.
Habit and routine kick in, and one does not have to face a moral choice at every point.
Dehumanization is a process of moving a person from outside an actor's "moral universe". Bauman argues that we have a set of people for whom moral laws apply, if a person is renamed and reframed such that they don't fit in that universe i. They were constantly put into a position of making a best of two bad choices select 35 for the train, or we will kill 50 here now.
We will follow up on this in detail in the next chapters. Part of the ability to get people to kill has directly to do with how the killing is carried out.
These effects make a person invisible morally.
In a rationalized organization, each person gives an order and takes an order, thus someone else carries out what you say, and what you do is a result of someone else's decision.
The second, making the victims invisible, refers first to the physical process of making people hard to see as people. Armies do this by killing at greater distances from knives, to guns, to artillery, to bombs, to missiles - thus allowing at each further remove the ability to see people as people less and less.
Modernity and the Holocaust
They do this by changing the clothing and appearance of the victim naked and starved, they don't look like people - at least not like the people who the killer recognizes as people.
The third way is to deny the victim's humanity. Refer to them with a non-human name epithets, slurs, especially names that refer to things people want to kill like bugs, lice, vermin. All of which make it easier to consider the person an 'other' - something that is not human. Moral consequences of a Civilization process ZB points out to commonly assumed elements of the 'civilizing process' see Norbert Elias, "The Civilizing Process" for some of this.
First, there is an every increasing suppression of the irrational instead, we do everything for a reason. Second, there is an ever decreasing amount of violence in every-day life, or to be exact, a compartmentalization of violence thus, instead of each of us butchering our meat, specialist do it.
ZB says that this image is only one side of the coin. At the same time, we have gained to possibility to combine these two for a rational implementation of violence - and at a greater and more deadly level. He argues that the subordination of violence to a rational calculus tends to take the use of violence out of a moral sphere and into a 'cost benefit' form of acting. Chapter 2.
Modernity, Racism and Extermination I. One might assume that anti-Semitism caused the Holocaust. This cannot be the whole story, however, since there have long been anti-Semites, but the Holocaust was new. Similarly, the level of anti-Semitism in Germany was significantly lower than that in France or many other European countries at the time.
Being perpetual and wide spread, it is hard to use anti-Semitism as an explanation for a unique event. That being said, it was certainly the case that the Holocaust perpetrators were anti-Semites.
Thus, we need to understand the unique characteristics of the hatred for Jews, relative to other types of group hatred. This is importantly linked the universality of the Jewish homelessness problem - there were a nation without a nation, and thus the 'foreigner inside'. Even in the face of this long standing history, during the feudal era, rules of interaction with Jews allowed a stable place in the social structure for Jews.
The real disorganization occurred as Modernity progressed. From the standpoint of Christians, unlike the 'unschooled' godless barbarians, Jews knew of Christ and rejected him.
Importantly, they are in fact responsible for fulfilling the messianic prophecy, by crucifying Christ.
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Thus, in a very important sense, the self identify of Christians at this time depended on the Jewish people.
Over time, the Jewish position as a boundary spanner - one who was "pre Christian" allowed them to become a sort of go-between in the early political system. They tended to occupy a position in the status structure, but one that was both inside and outside recall Weber's discussion of 'Pariah people'.
The notion of boundary spanner is important. Because the Jewish population belonged simultaneously to many different groups, multiple other groups could see them as a threat - they were considered 'alter' to most other groups. They had no positive referent, instead taking on the role of pure alter. Read the section around p. Modern dimensions of Incongruity The Jews provided a natural lightning rod for anti-modernist sentiment.
Their position as a 'pariah group' Weber gave them a strong interest in the individualistic ethos arising with modernity, and made them a strong target for those who's position in the established pre-modern social structure was being destroyed. That they were a 'non-national nation' -- a nation of people without a geographic base, made them threatening to the very idea of a nation-state grounded in the simultaneous overlap of territory and language.
Inside every nation there was a somewhat separate - due to the history of segregation separate Jewish nation. They thus occupied a position as 'foreigner inside' This position contrasted with the neat, ordered system of a nation state. As Bauman says: They bestrode all the barricades and invited bullets from every side. The Modernity of Racism concluding section of the chapter.
Modernity brought the leveling of differences socially. Leaving the Danish population aside, and the other well-meaning persons all over Europe who managed to defy the Nazis, this is not what happened at all.
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This is easy to imagine: think of the engineers designing the bombs that kill children in Syria returning every evening to the comfort of their middle-class homes. One of the most chilling passages in Mein Kampf , among the many in this crazy book, appears in Chapter II. This, he claims, was something he discovered in cosmopolitan Vienna.
There was a time, then, when young Hitler was not a Jew hater. That he could become eventually the arch-Jewish hater shows that he was persuaded by an already widespread, prejudiced ideology which ignited fanatic flames ready to burst in his brain but also in many other brains.
A concatenation of appalling circumstances put absolute power in his hands and then Hitler proceeded to commit one of the worst atrocities the world has seen using, as Bauman stresses, the tools that Modernity had already developed for his grisly project.
Bowing before his power, others helped Hitler to use these tools, because they shared his fanaticism and rotten beliefs. They were all, however, normal people—not evil monsters from Hell.
As normal as you and me, though convinced that by torturing and killing fellow human beings according to the atrocious ideology embodied by their messianic leader they were working for the good of their nation.
bauman_intro.pdf - Modernity and the Holocaust ZYGMUNT...
They felt morally authorized. Put it the other way round, if you will: tell ordinary people that they must protect the nation and they will do anything—from fighting in wars to committing genocide. This is normal human behaviour, enhanced in our times by Modernity. He then destroyed not only the Jews but also most of his own nation: the Machine—as J. Tolkien, another WWI veteran, called Modernity—was at his service both in the camps and in the Wehrmacht. Since there is a relatively short distance between and but a much longer time lapse between that date and we tend to believe that the risk of a new Hitler and a new Holocaust is over.
However, as Bauman stressed and Tolkien defended, only the rejection of Modernity itself can save us. Many argue that progress and the barbaric go together in Modernity but this seems to be a spurious argument aimed at defending barbarism.
It should also be time to move beyond the ideologies of the 19th century with their ethnic and racial obsessions and work for the good of the whole human species. Comments are very welcome! You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2. You can leave a response , or trackback from your own site.
I am personally baffled by the fact teenagers and young adults only vaguely know about the Shoah and I think we will go down a very, very dangerous path if memory is not actively kept alive.Log out of Readcube. Little moral opprobrium was attached to the natural human proclivity to avoid worrying more than necessity required -- and thus to abstain from examining the whole length of the causal chain up to its furthest links.
He argued that, on the one hand, in a consumer-oriented economy the strange and the unfamiliar is always enticing; in different styles of food, different fashions and in tourism it is possible to experience the allure of what is unfamiliar. The overall result is theoretical complacency. It's a reactionary ideological critique dressed up as the celebration of method and a back-door defence of a sterile empiricism and culture of positivism.
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