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Modernity and the Holocaust by Zygmunt…

Modernity and the Holocaust (original 1989; edition 2001)

by Zygmunt Bauman

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337454,378 (4.35)7
Sociology is concerned with modern society, but has never come to terms with one of the most distinctive and horrific aspects of modernity - the Holocaust. The book examines what sociology can teach us about the Holocaust, but more particularly concentrates upon the lessons which the Holocaust has for sociology. Bauman's work demonstrates that the Holocaust has to be understood as deeply involved with the nature of modernity. There is nothing comparable to this work available in the sociological literature.… (more)
Title:Modernity and the Holocaust
Authors:Zygmunt Bauman
Info:Cornell Univ Pr (2001), Paperback, 267 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Ex Libris David G. Nye

Work details

Modernity and the Holocaust by Zygmunt Bauman (1989)

  1. 00
    Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes by Jacques Ellul (davidgn)
  2. 00
    Crime Control as Industry by Nils Christie (davidgn)
    davidgn: "I regret I was not acquainted with Christie's finding at the time I wrote Modernity and the Holocaust. ... Engaging with Christie's argument is a must for any social scientist struggling to comprehend the present of our modern world. Even more so for all those wishing to do something about its future." --Zygmunt Bauman, review in Sociology… (more)
  3. 00
    The Cunning of History: The Holocaust and the American Future by Richard L. Rubenstein (davidgn)

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Showing 2 of 2
"Even so, the Holocaust was not simply a Jewish problem, and not an event in Jewish history alone. The Holocaust was born and executed in our modern rational society, at the high stage of our civilization and at the peak of human cultural achievement, and for this reason it is a problem of that society." (Bauman 2001, p. X)
In situating the Holocaust not only within modernity, but as a historical fact of that modernity, one surely has to feel compelled by that past presence of murder and cruelty, which stands in the intermediaries to the rise of post-modern culture in Europe. Bauman takes further steps in assimilating the lessons of the events of the Holocaust in the mainstream of the theory of modernity and of the civilizing process and its effects. By showing, how social rationalization and the development of cold bureaucracies and inhuman administration has led to these somehow unbelievable events, Bauman steps into the path, which was once pursued by Hannah Arendt and Theodor W. Adorno. He is not, however, tempted to construe once again the irrational monsters of the Nazi-thugs, but takes his stance in simply knowing that the ones responsible for these cruel deeds were mostly - even if cold-blooded - very normal, and seemingly moral people.
Morality is, for Bauman, a pre-social feeling, rather than something which is produced within societal development itself; once considering the effects of modern social engineering, one cannot but assume that it is society itself which represses moral feelings. With the growing distance between the actor in this society and the effects of his actions, which he sometimes doesn't even recognize, morality gets more and more useless and finally vanishes.
Bauman's book about the embedment of the Holocaust in modernity is a well reflected plea for the moral issues that nowadays are at stake: humanity and freedom. He finishes his book:
"This is by far the most important lesson of the Holocaust which needs to be learned and remembered. If Orwell is right that control of the past allows control of the future, it is imperative, for the sake of that future, that those who control the present are not allowed to manipulate the past in a fashion likely to render the future inhospitable to humanity and uninhabitable." (p. 250) ( )
  davidgregory | Jan 25, 2011 |
Sociology is concerned with modern society, but seems never to have come to terms with one of the most distinctive and horrific aspects of modernity - the Holocaust. This work examines what sociology can teach us about the Holocaust, but more particularly concentrates on the lesson which the Holocaust has for sociology. Baumann's work argues that the Holocaust has to be understood as deeply involved with the nature of modernity.
  antimuzak | Oct 25, 2005 |
Showing 2 of 2
"Intellectually rich and provocative. . . . This is a text which belongs in our classrooms as well as on our shelves. Exceptionally well written."
added by davidgn | editContemporary Sociology
"Such is the concentrated brilliance of Modernity and the Holocaust that it is sure to find an appreciative audience in every field of research which touches on the Holocaust (or which has been touched by it). Above all, to those who still hold faith with the notions of civilization, progress, and reason, this book will sit alongside others which have challenged fundamental beliefs of our time."
added by davidgn | editTimes Literary Supplement
'The book should be widely read by students of the social sciences, since it is, apart from a provocative analysis of explanations of genocide, a critique of sociology, which Bauman claims has neglected the ethical dilemmas posed by the destruction of the Jews.'
added by davidgn | editSociology
'This is a profound book, brilliant in its insights ... It demands wide readership.'
added by davidgn | editPolitical Studies
'Modernity and the Holocaust is a very fine book. Broad in scope and penetrating in analysis, it is disturbing as its subject matter demands, yet never fails to preserve the crucial element of reflective distance out of which new or more acute knowledge is able to emerge.'
added by davidgn | editTimes Higher Education Supplement

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zygmunt Baumanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Baldini, MassimoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guivarch, PauleTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Traverso, EnzoPostfacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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