In this compelling and timely book, Violence and Society, Larry Ray offers a wide-ranging and integrated account of the many manifestations of violence in society. He examines violent behavior and its meanings in contemporary culture and throughout history.
Introducing the major theoretical debates, the book examines different levels of violence – interpersonal, institutional and collective – and different forms of violence such as racist crime, homophobic crime and genocide. It provides readers with a succinct and comprehensive overview of its nature and effects, and the solutions and conflict resolutions involved in responses to violence.
Interdisciplinary in its approach, the text draws on evidence from sociology, criminology, primate studies and archaeology to shed light on arguments about the social construction and innate nature of violence. Engaging, wide-reaching and authoritative, this is essential reading for students, academics and researchers in sociology, criminology, social psychology and cultural studies.
Chapter 9: Modernity and the Holocaust
Hier ist kein Warum (‘There is no why here’, an Auschwitz guard replying to Primo Levi). (Levi 1987: 35)
Previous discussion has engaged with Elias's theory of the civilizational process and developed a framework for understanding violence within the context of the nature and trajectory of modern societies. This final chapter discusses Bauman's challenge to the civilizational thesis set out particularly in Modernity and the Holocaust (1999), in which he argues that the Holocaust was made possible by the institutions of rationalized modernity. This will be referred to as the ‘modernity thesis’. This thesis has been very influential and is often accepted uncritically, as for example Malešević (2010: 138) does when he says, ‘As Bauman argues, the Holocaust was ...