Understanding Genocide: The Social Psychology of the Holocaust

By Leonard S. Newman; Ralph Erber | Go to book overview

3
Authoritarianism and the Holocaust
Some Cognitive and Affective Implications
Peter Suedfeld and Mark Schaller

THE AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY: A BRIEF REVIEW

Of all the relationships between social-psychological or personality constructs and real-life phenomena, that between the original concept of the authoritarian personality, on the one hand, and the propensity to engage in persecution and even genocide, on the other, must surely be among the highest in face validity. how could it be otherwise? the entire research program began with an attempt to understand the roots of anti-semitism and its role in personality (n. sanford, 1973) and moved on to incorporate ethnocentric prejudice more generally and then to look at how these patterns were related to other personality tendencies.

The authors of the authoritarian personality (adorno, frenkel-brunswik, levinson, & r. sanford, 1950) included social scientists who had seen nazism at first hand and had fled from it, and who in fact had launched a theoretical and research enterprise precisely to elucidate some people's susceptibility to the siren call of fascism. the institute of social research in frankfurt had found that german workers who supported the social democratic party had underlying and perhaps unconscious authoritarian values. the frankfurt group decided that the superficially powerful labor movement would not effectively oppose hitler. showing now-legendary, and possibly unique, trust in their own data, the researchers saved their lives by emigrating almost immediately after the nazis took power (at a time when most liberals and jews were still convinced that nothing really bad would happen). some of the “frankfurt school” émigrés eventually contributed to the further development of authoritarianism theory and research at the hands of what came to be known as the “berkeley group” (n. sanford, 1973).

After considerable work, combining intensive interviews with a variety of paper-and-pencil measures, a picture of the authoritarian personality emerged.

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Understanding Genocide: The Social Psychology of the Holocaust
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface *
  • Contents ix
  • Contributors xi
  • Understanding Genocide *
  • Introduction 3
  • Notes 7
  • Part I - Becoming a Perpetrator 10
  • 1 - The Psychology of Bystanders, Perpetrators, and Heroic Helpers 11
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 2 - The Person Versus the Situation in Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners 43
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 3 - Some Cognitive and Affective Implications 68
  • References *
  • 4 - An Evaluation of Stanley Milgram's Perspective, the Most Influential Social-Psychological Approach to the Holocaust 91
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Part II - Beyond the Individual: Groups and Collectives 111
  • 5 - Envious Prejudice, Ideology, and the Scapegoating of Jews 113
  • Notes 140
  • References *
  • 6 - Group Processes and the Holocaust 143
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 7 - Examining the Implications of Cultural Frames on Social Movements and Group Action 162
  • References *
  • 8 - Preconditions for the Holocaust from a Control-Theoretical Perspective 188
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 9 - The Zoomorphism of Human Collective Violence 222
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Part III - Dealing with Evil 240
  • 10 - The Holocaust and the Four Roots of Evil 241
  • References *
  • 11 - Examining Hitler from a Social-Psychological Perspective 259
  • Notes *
  • References 280
  • 12 - Lying Self-Deception and Belief Change 285
  • References *
  • 13 - Does Social Psychology Exonerate the Perpetrators? 301
  • References *
  • 14 - Social Psychologists Confront the Holocaust 325
  • Note *
  • References *
  • Author Index 347
  • General Index 355
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