Understanding Genocide: The Social Psychology of the Holocaust

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

5
Sacrificial Lambs Dressed
in Wolves' Clothing

Envious Prejudice, Ideology, and the
Scapegoating of Jews
Peter Glick

the goyim are a flock of sheep and we are their wolves. and you know what happens when the wolves get hold of the flock?

—from “the protocols of the learned elders of zion” (an 1897 anti-semitic forgery of the alleged minutes of a meeting of the “rulers of zion”)

Why did the nazis desire to exterminate a whole people? why, in particular, were the jews chosen as the primary targets of their aggression? why did the perpetrators persist and even accelerate their efforts when the war against the allies was clearly about to be lost? the social-psychological concept most often invoked to answer these questions is scapegoating—the venting of frustrations on an innocent but weak target—a notion that has become part of popular “folk psychology.” scapegoat theory, however, is not well integrated into contemporary social psychology, since its foundations are firmly set in late nineteenth-century views of human irrationality, steeped in the metaphor of the steam engine (e.g., the belief that energy constantly created by the mind must be “vented” in some fashion) and focused on the role of “primitive” drives and repressed emotions. the theory sits uneasily among contemporary models of prejudice informed by the “cognitive revolution” in psychology, a reaction against drive-based models that replaced the steam engine metaphor with a computer-based analogy of the mind as a rational, though imperfect, information processor (fiske & taylor, 1991).

Among social psychologists, scapegoating is treated as a half-remembered distant relative, trotted out to be included in the family picture of prejudice

-113-

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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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