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MODERNITY AND THE HOLOCAUST PDF

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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.


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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.

Chapter 1. Sociology and the Holocaust. Two ways to belittle the significance of the holocaust for sociology. Continuation of anti-Semitism in Europe. Another Genocide , an example of ethnic conflict. In either view, our vision of social theory need not be revised. We can fit the Holocaust into how we think.

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. 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.

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.

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Zygmunt Bauman

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. More often than not, the branching off means that the scholarly interests delegated to specialist institutions are thereby eliminated from the core canon of the discipline; they are, so to speak, particularized and marginalized, deprived in practice, if not necessarily in theory, of more general significance; thus mainstream scholarship is absolved from further preoccupation with them.

And so we see that while the volume, depth and scholarly quality of specialist works in Holocaust history grow at an impressive pace, the amount of space and attention devoted to it in general accounts of modern history does not; if anything, it is easier now to be excused from a substantive analysis of the Holocaust by appending a respectably long list of scholarly references.

Another process is the already-noted sanitation of the Holocaust imagery sedimented in popular consciousness. Public information about the Holocaust has been all-too-often associated with commemorative ceremonies and the solemn homilies such ceremonies attract and legitimize. Occasions of this kind, however important in other respects, offer little room for the depth analysis of the Holocaust experience -- and particularly of its more unsightly and disturbing aspects. Less still of this already limited analysis finds its way into public consciousness, served by the non-specialist and generally accessible This version of Total HTML Converter is unregistered.

How could it happen in the heart of the most civilized part of the world? Discussion of guilt masquerades as the analysis of causes; the roots of the horror, we are told, must be sought and will be found in Hitler's obsession, the obsequiousness of his henchmen, the cruelty of his followers and the moral corruption sown by his ideas; perhaps, if we search a little further, they may also be found in certain peculiar convolutions of German history, or in the particular moral indifference of ordinary Germans -- an attitude only to be expected in view of their overt or latent antisemitism.

Like the Holocaust itself, its causes were enclosed in a confined space and a limited now, fortunately, finished time. Yet the exercise in focusing on the Germanness of the crime as on that aspect in which the explanation of the crime must lie is simultaneously an exercise in exonerating everyone else, and particularly everything else.

Once the allocation of guilt is implied to be equivalent to the location of causes, the innocence and sanity of the way of life of which we are so proud need not be cast in doubt.

The overall effect is, paradoxically, pulling the sting out of the Holocaust memory. The message which the Holocaust contains about the way we live today -- about the quality of the institutions on which we rely for our safety, about the validity of the criteria with which we measure the propriety of our own conduct and of the patterns of interaction we accept and consider normal -- is silenced, not listened to, and remains undelivered.

If unravelled by the specialists and discussed inside the conference circuit, it is hardly ever heard elsewhere, and remains a mystery for all the outsiders.

It has not entered as yet at any rate not in a serious way contemporary consciousness. Worse still, it has not as yet affected contemporary practice. This study is intended as a small and modest contribution to what seems to be, in the circumstances, a long-overdue task of a formidable cultural and political importance; the task of bringing the sociological, psychological and political lessons of the Holocaust episode to bear on the self-awareness and practice of the institutions and the members of contemporary society.

This study does not offer any new account of Holocaust history, in this respect, it relies entirely on the astounding achievement of recent specialist research, which I did my best to ransack and to which my debt is boundless. Instead, this study focuses on such revisions in various quite central areas of the social sciences and possibly also social practices as have been made necessary in view of the processes, trends and hidden potentials revealed in the course of the -- xiii -Holocaust.

The purpose of the various investigations of the present study is not to add to specialist knowledge and to enrich certain marginal preoccupations of social scientists, but to open up the findings of the specialists to the general use of social science, to interpret them in a way that shows their relevance to the main themes of sociological inquiry, to feed them back into the mainstream of our discipline, and thus to lift them up from their present marginal status into the central area of social theory and sociological practice.

Chapter 1 is a general survey of sociological responses or, rather, of the glaring paucity of such responses to certain theoretically crucial and practically vital issues raised by Holocaust studies. Some of these issues are then analysed separately and more fully in subsequent chapters. And so in chapters 2 and 3 are explored the tensions emanated by the boundary-drawing tendencies under the new conditions of modernization, the breakdown of the traditional order, the entrenchment of modern national states, the connections between certain attributes of modern civilization the role of scientific rhetoric in the legitimization of social-engineering ambitions being most prominent among them , the emergence of the racist form of communal antagonism, and the association between racism and genocidal projects.

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Having thus proposed that the Holocaust was a characteristically modern phenomenon that cannot be understood out of the context of cultural tendencies and technical achievements of modernity, in chapter 4, I attempt to confront the problem of the truly dialectical combination of uniqueness and normality in the status occupied by the Holocaust among other modern phenomena; I suggest in the conclusion that the Holocaust was an outcome of a unique encounter between factors by themselves quite ordinary and common; and that the possibility of such an encounter could be blamed to a very large extent on the emancipation of the political state, with its monopoly of means of violence and its audacious engineering ambitions, from social control -- following the step-by-step dismantling of all non-political power resources and institutions of social self-management.

Chapter 7, serving as the theoretical synthesis and conclusion, surveys the present status of morality in the dominant versions of social theory and argues in favour of its radical revision -- which would focus on the revealed capacity of social manipulation of social physical and spiritual distance. Diversity of their topics notwithstanding, I hope that all the chapters point in the same direction and reinforce one central message. They are all arguments in favour of assimilating the lessons of the Holocaust in the mainstream of our theory of modernity and of the civilizing process and its effects.

They all proceed from the conviction that the experience of the Holocaust contains crucial information about the society of which we are members. The Holocaust was a unique encounter between the old tensions which modernity ignored, slighted or failed to resolve -- and the powerful instruments of rational and effective action that modern development itself brought into being.

Not enough has been done after the Holocaust to fathom the awesome potential of these factors and less still to paralyse their potentially gruesome effects. I hope they will find in these pages more than a marginal evidence of their ideas and inspiration.

I owe a particular debt to Anthony Giddens for the attentive reading of the successive versions of the book, thoughtful criticism and most valuable advice. To David Roberts goes my gratitude for all his editorial care and patience.

Notes -- nts -Note: 1 David G. Polity Press, Cambridge, England, One way is to present the Holocaust as something that happened to the Jews; as an event in Jewish history.

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This makes the Holocaust unique, comfortably uncharacteristic and sociologically inconsequential. The most common example of such a way is the presentation of the Holocaust as the culmination point of European-Christian antisemitism -- in itself a unique phenomenon with nothing to compare it with in the large and dense inventory of ethnic or religious prejudices and aggressions.

Among all other cases of collective antagonisms, antisemitism stands alone for its unprecedented systematicity, for its ideological intensity, for its supra-national and supra-territorial spread, for its unique mix of local and ecumenical sources and tributaries.

Less still does it call for any -- 2 -significant revision of the orthodox understanding of the historical tendency of modernity, of the civilizing process, of the constitutive topics of sociological inquiry. Another way -- apparently pointing in an opposite direction, yet leading in practice to the same destination -- is to present the Holocaust as an extreme case of a wide and familiar category of social phenomena; a category surely loathsome and repellent, yet one we can and must live with.

We must live with it because of its resilience and ubiquity, but above all because modern society has been all along, is and will remain, an organization designed to roll it back, and perhaps even to stamp it out altogether. At best, the Holocaust is cast inside the most awesome and sinister -- yet still theoretically assimilable category -- of genocide; or else simply dissolved in the broad, all-too-familiar class of ethnic, cultural or racial oppression and persecution.

The overall result is theoretical complacency. Nothing, really, happened to justify another critique of the model of modern society that has served so well as the theoretical framework and the pragmatic legitimation of sociological practice. Thus far, significant dissent with this complacent, self-congratulating attitude has been voiced mostly by historians and theologians. Little attention has been paid to these voices by the sociologists. When compared with the awesome amount of work accomplished by the historians, and the volume of soulsearching among both Christian and Jewish theologians, the contributions of professional sociologists to Holocaust studies seems marginal and negligible.

Such sociological studies as have been completed so far show beyond reasonable doubt that the Holocaust has more to say about the state of This version of Total HTML Converter is unregistered. This alarming fact has not yet been faced much less responded to by the sociologists.

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What we need is better knowledge of the signs of their rise to power and better ways of keeping them out of power. What we need is a better technology for the old -- and in no way discredited -- activity of social engineering. In what has been so far the most notable among the distinctly sociological contributions to the study of the Holocaust, Helen Fein 5 has faithfully followed Hughes's advice.

She defined her task as that of spelling out a number of psychological, ideological and structural variables which most strongly correlate with percentages of Jewish victims or survivors inside various state-national entities of Nazidominated Europe. By all orthodox standards, Fein produced a most impressive piece of research. Properties of national communities, intensity of local antisemitism, degrees of Jewish acculturation and assimilation, the resulting cross-communal solidarity have all been carefully and correctly indexed, so that correlations may be properly computed and checked for their relevance.

It is precisely because of the impeccable sociological skills of the author, and the competence with which they are put in operation, that the weaknesses of orthodox sociology have been inadvertently exposed in Fein's book. Without revising some of the essential yet tacit assumptions of sociological discourse, one cannot do anything other than what Fein has done; conceive of the Holocaust as a unique yet fully determined product of a particular concatenation of social and psychological factors, which led to a temporary suspension of the civilizational grip in which human behaviour is normally held.

Whatever moral instinct is to be found in human conduct is socially produced.

Modernity and the Holocaust

It dissolves once society malfunctions. The thrust of social regulation -- and thus of modern civilization, prominent as it is for pushing regulative ambitions to limits never heard of before -- is the imposition -- 5 -of moral constraints on otherwise rampant selfishness and inborn savagery of the animal in man.

Loyal to the precepts of sociological wisdom, Tec tried hard to find the social determinants of what by all standards of the time was an aberrant behaviour. One by one, she put to the test all hypotheses that any respectable and knowledgeable sociologist would certainly include in the research project. She computed correlations between the readiness to help on the one hand, and various factors of class, educational, denominational, or political allegiance on the other -- only to discover that there was none.

If anything, the contribution of such determinants expressed itself in their failure to extinguish the rescuers' urge to help others in their distress. It is only too easy to over-react to the apparent bankruptcy of established sociological visions. In a perverse fashion, this view we shall deal with it in more detail in the fourth chapter having allegedly elevated the historical and theoretical significance of the Holocaust, can only belittle its importance, as the horrors of genocide will have become virtually indistinguishable from other sufferings that modern society does undoubtedly generate daily -- and in abundance.

The Holocaust as the test of modernity A few years ago a journalist of Le Monde interviewed a sample of former hijack victims. Intrigued, he probed the divorcees for the reasons for their decision. Most interviewees told him that they had never contemplated a divorce before the hijack.

The journalist asked himself a question; which of the two incarnations each of these Januses was clearly capable of was the true face, and which was the mask? He concluded that the question was wrongly put. Both were possibilities that the character of the victims contained all along -- they simply surfaced at different times and in different circumstances. Yet the other was always present, though normally invisible. The partners would have continued to enjoy their marriage, unaware of the unprepossessing qualities some unexpected and extraordinary -- 7 -circumstances might still uncover in persons they seemed to know, liking what they knew.

They were dormant heroes, often indistinguishable from those around them. John R. Roth brings the same issue of potentiality versus reality the first being a yet-undisclosed mode of the second, and the second being an alreadyrealized -- and thus empirically accessible -- mode of the first in a direct contact with our problem: Had Nazi Power prevailed, authority to determine what ought to be would have found that no natural laws were broken and no crimes against God and humanity were committed in the Holocaust.

It would have been a question, though, whether the slave labour operations should continue, expand, or go out of business.

Modernity and the Holocaust by Zygmunt Bauman (ebook)

Those decisions would have been made on rational grounds. We suspect even if we refuse to admit it that the Holocaust could merely have uncovered another face of the same modern society whose other, more familiar, face we so admire. And that the two faces are perfectly comfortably attached to the same body.

What we perhaps fear most, is that each of the two faces can no more exist without the other than can the two sides of a coin. Often we stop just at the threshold of the awesome truth. And so -- 8 -Henry Feingold insists that the episode of the Holocaust was indeed a new development in a long, and on the whole blameless, history of modern society; a development we had no way to expect and predict, like an appearance of a new malign strain of an allegedly tamed virus: The Final Solution marked the juncture where the European industrial system went awry; instead of enhancing life, which was the original hope of the Enlightenment, it began to consume itself.

It was by dint of that industrial system and the ethos attached to it that Europe was able to dominate the world. As if the skills needed and deployed in the service of world domination were qualitatively different from those which secured the effectiveness of the Final Solution.

And yet Feingold is staring the truth in the face: [Auschwitz] was also a mundane extension of the modern factory system. Rather than producing goods, the raw material was human beings and the end-product was death, so many units per day marked carefully on the manager's production charts.

The chimneys, the very symbol of the modern factory system, poured forth acrid smoke produced by burning human flesh. The brilliantly organized railroad grid of modern Europe carried a new kind of raw material to the factories.

It did so in the same manner as with other cargo. In the gas chambers the victims inhaled noxious gas generated by prussic acid pellets, which were produced by the advanced chemical industry of Germany. Engineers designed the crematoria; managers designed the system of bureaucracy that worked with a zest and efficiency more backward nations would envy.

Even the overall plan itself was a reflection of the modern scientific spirit gone awry. What we witnessed was nothing less than a massive scheme of social engineering In the words of Stillman and Pfaff, -- 9 -There is more than a wholly fortuitous connection between the applied technology of the mass production line, with its vision of universal material abundance, and the applied technology of the concentration camp, with its vision of a profusion of death.

We may wish to deny the connection, but Buchenwald was of our West as much as Detroit's River Rouge -- we cannot deny Buchenwald as a casual aberration of a Western world essentially sane. The machinery of destruction was the organized community in one of its special roles. Rubenstein has drawn what seems to me the ultimate lesson of the Holocaust.

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It was an advance, let us add, in a double sense. In the Final Solution, the industrial potential and technological know-how boasted by our civilization has scaled new heights in coping successfully with a task of unprecedented magnitude.

And in the same Final Solution our society has disclosed to us it heretofore unsuspected capacity. Taught to respect and admire technical efficiency and good design, we cannot but admit that, in the praise of material progress which our civilization has brought, we have sorely underestimated its true potential.

The world of the death camps and the society it engenders reveals the progressively intensifying night side of Judeo-Christian civilization. Civilization means slavery, wars, exploitation, and death camps. It also means medical hygiene, elevated religious ideas, beautiful art, and exquisite music. It is an error to imagine that civilization and savage cruelty are antithesis In our times the cruelties, like most other aspects of our world, have become far more effectively administered than ever before.

They have not and will not cease to exist. Both creation and destruction are inseparable aspects of what we call civilization.

I have keenly searched the works of sociologists for statements expressing similar awareness of the urgency of the task posited by the Holocaust; for evidence that the Holocaust presents, among other things, a challenge to sociology as a profession and a body of academic knowledge.

When measured against the work done by historians or theologians, the bulk of -- 10 -academic sociology looks more like a collective exercise in forgetting and eye-closing. By and large, the lessons of the Holocaust have left little trace on sociological common sense, which includes among many others such articles of faith as the benefits of reason's rule over the emotions, the superiority of rationality over what else?

However loud and poignant, voices of the protest against this faith have not yet penetrated the walls of the sociological establishment. I do not know of many occasions on which sociologists, qua sociologists, confronted publicly the evidence of the Holocaust. One such occasion though on a small scale was offered by the symposium on Western Society after the Holocaust, convened in by the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Social Problems.

Rubenstein presented an imaginative, though perhaps over-emotional attempt to re-read, in the light of the Holocaust experience, some of the best-known of Weber's diagnoses of the tendencies of modern society. Rubenstein wished to find out whether the things we know about, but of which Weber was naturally unaware, could have been anticipated by Weber himself and his readers , at least as a possibility, from what Weber knew, perceived or theorized about.

He thought he had found a positive answer to this question, or at least so he suggested: that in Weber's exposition of modern bureaucracy, rational spirit, principle of efficiency, scientific mentality, relegation of values to the realm of subjectivity etc.

There is just no sentence in his presentation that I can accept. He refrained, -- 11 -however, from confronting the substance of Rubenstein's suggestion. In all probability, Guenther Roth is not the only sociologist who would rally to the defence of the hallowed truths of our joint tradition at the expense of the adverse evidence; it is just that most other sociologists have not been forced to do so in such an outspoken way.

By and large, we need not bother with the challenge of the Holocaust in our daily professional practice. If at all discussed in sociological texts, the Holocaust is at best offered as a sad example of what an untamed innate human aggressiveness may do, and then used as a pretext to exhort the virtues of taming it through an increase in the civilizing pressure and another flurry of expert problem-solving.

In other words, I propose to treat the Holocaust as a rare, yet significant and reliable, test of the hidden possibilities of modern society. The meaning of the civilizing process The etiological myth deeply entrenched in the self-consciousness of our Western society is the morally elevating story of humanity emerging from presocial barbarity. Contrary opinions of contemporary social theorists see, for instance, the thorough analyses of multifarious civilizing processes: historical and comparative by Michael Mann, synthetic and theoretical by Anthony Giddens , which emphasize the growth of military violence and untrammelled use of coercion as the most crucial attributes of the emergence and entrenchment of great civilizations, have a long This version of Total HTML Converter is unregistered.

By and large, lay opinion resents all challenge to the myth. In view of this myth, long ago ossified into the common sense of our era, the Holocaust can only be understood as the failure of civilization i. Obviously, the Hobbesian world has not been fully chained, the Hobbesian problem has not been fully resolved. In other words, we do not have as yet enough civilization.

The unfinished civilizing process is yet to be brought to its conclusion. If the lesson of mass murder does teach us anything it is that the prevention of similar hiccups of barbarism evidently requires still more civilizing efforts. There is nothing in this lesson to cast doubt on the future effectivenes of such efforts and their ultimate results.

We certainly move in the right direction; perhaps we do not move fast enough.

As its full picture emerges from historical research, so does an alternative, and possible more credible, interpretation of the Holocaust as an event which disclosed the weakness and fragility of human nature of the abhorrence of murder, disinclination to violence, fear of guilty conscience and of responsibility for immoral behaviour when confronted with the matter-of-fact efficiency of the most cherished among the products of civilization; its technology, its rational criteria of choice, its tendency to subordinate thought and action to the pragmatics of economy and effectiveness.

The Hobbesian world of the Holocaust did not surface from its too-shallow grave, resurrected by the tumult of irrational emotions. It arrived in a formidable shape Hobbes would certainly disown in a factory-produced vehicle, wielding weapons only the most advanced science could supply, and following an itinerary designed by scientifically managed organization.

Modern civilization was not the Holocaust's sufficient condition; it was, however, most certainly its necessary condition. Without it, the Holocaust would be unthinkable. It was the rational world of modern civilization that made the Holocaust thinkable.

The civil service infused the other hierarchies with its sure-footed planning and bureaucratic thoroughness. From the army the -- 14 -machinery of destruction acquired its military precision, discipline, and callousness.

Industry's influence was felt in the great emphasis upon accounting, penny-saving, and salvage, as well as in factory-like efficiency of the killing centres.