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Ordinary Organisations - Why Normal Men Carried Out the Holocaust


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Table of Contents

Introduction page 1 1 Beyond "Ordinary Men" and "Ordinary Germans" 18 1.1 The failure of easy answers 21 1.2 From the search for motives to the presentation of motives 31 1.3 The motivation of organization members 36 2 Identification with the Goal 44 2.1 The formation of an antisemitic fictional consensus 46 2.2 How ideological indoctrination secured an antisemitic fictional consensus 52 2.3 From "impassive acceptance" to "active participation" 55 3 Coercion 58 3.1 Forced recruitment and barriers to exit 61 3.2 Avoiding the membership issue in coercive organizations 65 3.3 The limits of leeway 68 3.4 The freedom in coercion 71 4 Comradeship 74 4.1 The pressure of comradeship and the formation of informal norms 75 4.2 Levels in the formation of comradeship 78 4.3 How are comradeship norms enforced? 81 4.4 Mobilizing comradeship by granting leeway 85 5 Money 88 5.1 The function of regular remuneration for the battalion members 89 5.2 Legalized enrichment through the dispossession of the Jewish population 91 5.3 Enrichment beyond official forms of remuneration and reward 95 5.4 The functionality of misappropriation 99 6 The Attractiveness of Activities 102 6.1 Inhibitions against killing and organizational strategies for overcoming them 104 6.2 The production of motives: dehumanizing the victims 108 6.3 An organizational culture of brutality 111 7 The Generalization of Motives 114 7.1 The different ways of presenting personal engagement 115 7.2 Managing one's self-presentation 120 7.3 The separation between goals and motives 124 8 From Killers to Perpetrators 129 8.1 The legalization of the state's use of violence 135 8.2 Using violence in the gray zones of legality 139 8.3 The shift in the concept of law under the Nazis 148 8.4 Facilitating killing by legalizing it 152 9 The Normality and Abnormality of Organizations 153 9.1 Beyond the notion of "abnormal organizations" 155 9.2 The expansion of zones of indifference in organizations 159 9.3 Understanding organizations: conclusions 167 Appendix: The Sociological Approach and Empirical Basis 169 Archives 179 Notes 181 References 258 Index 306

About the Author

Stefan Kuhl is Professor of Sociology at the University of Bielefeld.


"In this masterly researched and subtly conceptualized in-depth analysis of the infamous Police Battalion 101, Stefan Kuhl shows hauntingly how the 'normality' of constraints, enrichment, comradeship, routine, and legality enabled Nazi perpetrators to achieve the ultimate abnormality. Ordinary Organizations will soon be considered as one of the key inquiries into the Holocaust." Thomas Kuhne, Clark University "An extremely interesting book, engaging with theoretical approaches to understanding the Holocaust. Kuhl makes a strong case for the explanatory power of organizational sociology in understanding how 'ordinary men' could be brought to engage in acts of killing without seeing themselves as perpetrators. A controversial and stimulating read." Mary Fulbrook, University College London

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