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Journal ArticleDOI

Documenting atrocities around the world: Why engage with the perpetrators?

19 Apr 2019-International Journal of Cultural Studies (SAGE Publications)-Vol. 22, Iss: 6, pp 804-822
TL;DR: Following a century filled with violations of human rights, a significant number of documentary films have appeared since the first decade of the current century that report these events as mentioned in this paper, and a number of them have been published since the early 1990s.
Abstract: Following a century filled with violations of human rights, a significant number of documentary films have appeared since the first decade of the current century that report these events. Tradition...
Citations
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Book
25 Jul 2017
TL;DR: The Ordinary Men as discussed by the authors is a micro-history of a single unit in the Nazi killing machine, where Browning evaluates a wide range of evidence to seek to explain the actions of the "ordinary men" who made up reserve Police Battalion 101, taking advantage of the wide-range of resources prepared in the early 1960s for a proposed war crimes trial.
Abstract: Of all the controversies facing historians today, few are more divisive or more important than the question of how the Holocaust was possible. What led thousands of Germans – many of them middle-aged reservists with, apparently, little Nazi zeal – to willingly commit acts of genocide? Was it ideology? Was there something rotten in the German soul? Or was it – as Christopher Browning argues in this highly influential book – more a matter of conformity, a response to intolerable social and psychological pressure? Ordinary Men is a microhistory, the detailed study of a single unit in the Nazi killing machine. Browning evaluates a wide range of evidence to seek to explain the actions of the "ordinary men" who made up reserve Police Battalion 101, taking advantage of the wide range of resources prepared in the early 1960s for a proposed war crimes trial. He concludes that his subjects were not "evil;" rather, their actions are best explained by a desire to be part of a team, not to shirk responsibility that would otherwise fall on the shoulders of comrades, and a willingness to obey authority. Browning's ability to explore the strengths and weaknesses of arguments – both the survivors' and other historians' – is what sets his work apart from other studies that have attempted to get to the root of the motivations for the Holocaust, and it is also what marks Ordinary Men as one of the most important works of its generation.

195 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, a one-year ethnographic study of disinformation producers employed in digital black-ops campaigns in the Philippines is presented to address gaps in disinformation research, and they argue that approaching disinformation as a culture of production opens inquiry into the social conditions that entice people to this work and the creative industry practices that normalize fake news as a side gig.
Abstract: The field of disinformation studies remains relatively silent about questions of identity, motivation, labor, and morality. Drawing from a one-year ethnographic study of disinformation producers employed in digital black ops campaigns in the Philippines, this article proposes that approaches from production studies can address gaps in disinformation research. We argue that approaching disinformation as a culture of production opens inquiry into the social conditions that entice people to this work and the creative industry practices that normalize fake news as a side gig. This article critically reflects on the methodological risks and opportunities of ethnographic research that subverts expectations of the exceptionally villainous troll and instead uses narratives of creative workers’ complicity and collusion to advance holistic social critique and local-level disinformation interventions.

42 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Gardner Feldman as discussed by the authors traces Germany's path from enmity to amity by focusing on the behavior of individual leaders, governments, and non-governmental actors, and concludes that Germany has institutionalized active friendship.
Abstract: Since World War II, Germany has confronted its own history to earn acceptance in the family of nations. Lily Gardner Feldman draws on the literature of religion, philosophy, social psychology, law and political science, and history to understand Germany's foreign policy with its moral and pragmatic motivations and to develop the concept of international reconciliation. Germany's Foreign Policy of Reconciliation traces Germany's path from enmity to amity by focusing on the behavior of individual leaders, governments, and non-governmental actors. The book demonstrates that, at least in the cases of France, Israel, Poland, and Czechoslovakia/the Czech Republic, Germany has gone far beyond banishing war with its former enemies; it has institutionalized active friendship. The German experience is now a model of its own, offering lessons for other cases of international reconciliation. Gardner Feldman concludes with an initial application of German reconciliation insights to the other principal post–World War II pariah, as Japan expands its relations with China and South Korea.

19 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In recent years, the number of diverse forms of cultural productions focused on the perpetrators has increased significantly eliciting thus a turn toward this problematic figure as mentioned in this paper, and the originality of...
Abstract: In recent years the number of diverse forms of cultural productions focused on the perpetrators has increased significantly eliciting thus a turn toward this problematic figure. The originality of ...

12 citations


Cites background from "Documenting atrocities around the w..."

  • ...As I suggest elsewhere, we should engage with perpetrators because their participation is necessary for a divided society to resolve its conflicts in the present and achieve thus the reconciliation that will guarantee a peaceful collective in the future (Canet 2019a)....

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  • ...Conversely, Lissette Orozco’s El pacto de Adriana (2017) offers us a case in which the filmmaker’s aunt, Adriana Rivas (‘Chani’) made the voluntary decision to join the DINA (Pinochet’s secret police force), in return for a better life (Canet 2019b)....

    [...]

  • ...…past conflicts, fulfiling a reparative function as noted above, taking a constructive and positive attitude characterized by what I have elsewhere termed the ‘4Rs’ (remembrance, recognition, remorse, and redemption), necessary steps to achieve the fifth and final R of reconciliation (Canet 2019a)....

    [...]

  • ...…Abu Ghraib prison’s atrocities, by regularizing and legitimizing standard procedures of violence committed by the U.S. MPs against terrorism suspects (Canet 2019a).20 Thus, the State as perpetrator and its political responsibilities and the consequences for the direct perpetrators should be…...

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References
More filters
Book
28 Mar 2011
TL;DR: The first edition of "Eichmann in Jerusalem" appeared as a series of articles in "The New Yorker" in 1963 and was later published as a book in 1970 as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: Hannah Arendt's portrayal of the terrible consequences of blind obedience, "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil" contains an introduction by Amos Elon in "Penguin Classics". Sparking a flurry of heated debate, Hannah Arendt's authoritative and stunning report on the trial of German Nazi SS leader Adolf Eichmann first appeared as a series of articles in "The New Yorker" in 1963. This revised edition includes material that came to light after the trial, as well as Arendt's postscript commenting on the controversy that arose over her book. A major journalistic triumph by an intellectual of singular influence, "Eichmann in Jerusalem" is as shocking as it is informative - a meticulous and unflinching look at one of the most unsettling (and unsettled) issues of the twentieth century. Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was for many years University Professor of Political Philosophy in the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research and a Visiting Fellow of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. She is also the author of "Eichmann in Jerusalem", "On Revolution", and "Between Past and Future". If you enjoyed "Eichmann in Jerusalem", you might like Elie Wiesel's "Night", available in "Penguin Modern Classics". "Deals with the greatest problem of our time ...the problem of the human being within a modern totalitarian system". (Bruno Bettelheim, "The New Republic"). "A profound and documented analysis...Bound to stir our minds and trouble our consciences". ("Chicago Tribune").

2,986 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Given the many mechanisms for disengaging moral control, civilized life requires, in addition to humane personal standards, safeguards built into social systems that uphold compassionate behavior and renounce cruelty.
Abstract: Moral agency is manifested in both the power to refrain from behaving inhumanely and the proactive power to behave humanely. Moral agency is embedded in a broader sociocognitive self theory encompassing self-organizing, proactive, self-reflective, and self-regulatory mechanisms rooted in personal standards linked to self-sanctions. The self-regulatory mechanisms governing moral conduct do not come into play unless they are activated, and there are many psychosocial maneuvers by which moral self-sanctions are selectively disengaged from inhumane conduct. The moral disengagement may center on the cognitive restructuring of inhumane conduct into a benign or worthy one by moral justification, sanitizing language, and advantageous comparison; disavowal of a sense of personal agency by diffusion or displacement of responsibility; disregarding or minimizing the injurious effects of one's actions; and attribution of blame to, and dehumanization of, those who are victimized. Many inhumanities operate through a supportive network of legitimate enterprises run by otherwise considerate people who contribute to destructive activities by disconnected subdivision of functions and diffusion of responsibility. Given the many mechanisms for disengaging moral control, civilized life requires, in addition to humane personal standards, safeguards built into social systems that uphold compassionate behavior and renounce cruelty.

2,836 citations


"Documenting atrocities around the w..." refers background in this paper

  • ...…observed by Michael Mann: ‘peculiar people’ and ‘ordinary people’ (2000: 332).2 Here, I claim the importance of both dimensions, structural/situational vs personal/dispositional, and their ‘synergistic interaction’ (Bandura, 1999: 207) to better explain the reasons why the perpetration occurs.3...

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  • ...Albert Bandura also claims that the perpetrators, in order to justify their acts, commonly use the stereotypical argument that they were committed ‘in the name of righteous ideologies, religious principles, and nationalistic imperatives’ (Bandura, 1999: 195)....

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Book
01 Jan 1974
TL;DR: The Dilema of Obedience as discussed by the authors is a fundamental element in the structure of social life and obedience is as basic an element in social life as one can point to, and it is only the man dwelling in isolation who is not forced to respond through defiance or submission to the commands of others.
Abstract: The Dilema of Obedience Obedience is as basic an element in the structure of social life as one can point to. Some system of authority is a requirement of all communal living, and it is only the man dwelling in isolation who is not forced to respond, through defiance or submission, to the commands of others. Obedience, as a determinant of behavior is of particular relevance to our time. It has been reliably established that from 1933 to 1945 millions of innocent people were systematically slaughtered on command. Gas chambers were built, death camps were guarded, daily quotas of corpses were produced with the same efficiency as the manufacture of appliances. These inhumane policies may have originated in the mind of a single person, but they could only have been carried out on a massive scale if a very large number of people obeyed orders. Obedience is the psychological mechanism that links individual action to political purpose. It is the dispositional cement that binds men to systems of authority. Facts of recent history and observation in daily life suggest that for many people obedience may be a deeply ingrained behavior tendency, indeed, a prepotent impulse overriding training in ethics, sympathy, and moral conduct. C. P. Snow (1961) points to its importance when he writes: When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion. If you doubt that, read William Sbirer's 'Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.' The German Officer Corps were brought up in the most rigorous code of obedience . . . in the name of obedience they were party to, andassisted in, the most wicked large scale actions in the history of the world. (p. 24) The Nazi extermination of European Jews is the most extremeinstance of abhorrent immoral acts carried out by thousands ofpeople in the name of obedience. Yet in lesser degree this type ofthing is constantly recurring: ordinary citizens are ordered todestroy other people, and they do so because they consider ittheir duty to obey orders. Thus, obedience to authority, longpraised as a virtue, takes on a new aspect when it serves amalevolent cause; far from appearing as a virtue, it is transformedinto a heinous sin. Or is it? The moral question of whether one should obey when commands conflict with conscience was argued by Plato, dramatized in "Antigone," and treated to philosophic analysis in every historical epoch Conservative philosophers argue that the very fabric of society is threatened by disobedience, and even when the act prescribed by an authority is an evil one, it is better to carry out the act than to wrench at the structure of authority. Hobbes stated further that an act so executed is in no sense the responsibility of the person who carries it out but only of the authority that orders it. But humanists argue for the primacy of individual conscience in such matters, insisting that the moral judgments of the individual must override authority when the two are in conflict. The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous import, but an empirically grounded scientist eventually comes to the point where he wishes to move from abstract discourse to the careful observation of concrete instances. In order to take a close look at the act of obeying, I set up a simple experimentat Yale University. Eventually, the experiment was to involve more than a thousand participants and would be repeated at several universities, but at the beginning, the conception was simple. A person comes to a psychological laboratory and is told to carry out a series of acts that come increasingly into conflict with conscience. The main question is how far the participant will comply with the experimenter's instructions before refusing to carry out the actions required of him. But the reader needs to know a little more detail about the experiment. Two people come to a psychology laboratory to take part in a study of memory and learning. One of them is designated as a "teacher" and the other a "learner." The experimenter explains that the study is concerned with the effects of punishment on learning. The learner is conducted into a room, seated in a chair, his arms strapped to prevent excessive movement, and an electrode attached to his wrist. He is told that he is to learn a list of word pairs; whenever he makes an error, be will receive electric shocks of increasing intensity. The real focus of the experiment is the teacher. After watching the learner being strapped into place, he is taken into the main experimental room and seated before an impressive shock generator. Its main feature is a horizontal line of thirty switches, ranging from 15 volts to 450 volts, in 15-volt increments. There are also verbal designations which range from Slight SHOCK to Danger--Severe SHOCK. The teacher is told that he is to administer the learning test to the man in the other room. When the learner responds correctly, the teacher moves on to the next item; when the other man gives an incorrectanswer, the teacher is to give him an electric shock. He is to start at the lowest shock level ( 15 volts) and to increase the level each time the man makes an error, going through 30 volts, 45 volts, and so on. The "teacher" is a genuinely naive subject who has come to the laboratory to participate in an experiment. The learner, or victim, is an actor who actually receives no shock at all. The point of the experiment is to see how far a person will proceed in a concrete and measurable situation in which he is ordered to inflict increasing pain on a protesting victim.

2,615 citations


Additional excerpts

  • ...In Raya Morag’s publications, mainly in her book titled Waltzing with Bashir: Perpetrator Trauma and Cinema (Morag, 2013), only one context is explored: Israeli involvement in the Lebanon wars and the occupied territories. She addresses how this particular national trauma is represented in the new wave of Israeli documentary cinema. In this literature the main object of study, unlike in the previous paragraph, is non-fictional cases, using material such as biographies, photographs, press documents, interview data, judicial and archival records of international criminal courts, anthropological fieldwork, and documentary films. In order to offer some answers to the questions formulated above, I focus on the documentary films because of their current relevance, as it has already been mentioned. To this end, two methodological approaches are carried out in parallel: first, this article explores a sample of five documentary films and the filmmakers’ considerations of what their engagement with the perpetrators was like. The films selected, as representative of different historical moments, geographical contexts and type of perpetration, are: Malte Ludin’s 2 or 3 Things I Know About Him (2005) on the legacies of the Nazi atrocities; Errol Morris’s Standard Operating Procedure (2008) on the US-operated prison Abu Ghraib in occupied Iraq; Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing (2012) and The Look of Silence (2014) on the Indonesian genocide; and Lissette Orozco’s El pacto de Adriana (Adriana’s Pact, 2017) on the Chilean dictatorship....

    [...]

  • ...In Raya Morag’s publications, mainly in her book titled Waltzing with Bashir: Perpetrator Trauma and Cinema (Morag, 2013), only one context is explored: Israeli involvement in the Lebanon wars and the occupied territories....

    [...]

  • ...We could use Raya Morag’s (2012: 104) idea of ‘redemptive narrative structure’ to describe the structure of The Act of Killing, but we need the victims’ participation to take the next step, the fourth, R of redemption....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Empirical research findings suggest that guilt serves various relationship-enhancing functions, including motivating people to treat partners well and avoid transgressions, minimizing inequities and enabling less powerful partners to get their way, and redistributing emotional distress.
Abstract: Multiple sets of empirical research findings on guilt are reviewed to evaluate the view that guilt should be understood as an essentially social phenomenon that happens between people as much as it happens inside them. Guilt appears to arise from interpersonal transactions (including transgressions and positive inequities) and to vary significantly with the interpersonal context. In particular, guilt patterns appear to be strongest, most common, and most consistent in the context of communal relationships, which are characterized by expectations of mutual concern. Guilt serves various relationship-enhancing functions, including motivating people to treat partners well and avoid transgressions, minimizing inequities and enabling less powerful partners to get their way, and redistributing emotional distress.

1,769 citations


"Documenting atrocities around the w..." refers background in this paper

  • ...The portrayal of this burden helps to reduce the debt the perpetrators owe the victims (Baumeister et al., 1994; Shnabel and Nadler, 2008)....

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Book
01 Jan 1961
TL;DR: Hilberg's comprehensive account of how Germany annihilated the Jewish community of Europe spurred discussion, galvanized further research, and shaped the entire field of Holocaust studies as mentioned in this paper, which is the definitive work of a scholar who has devoted more than 50 years to exploring and analysing the realities of the Holocaust.
Abstract: First published in 1961, Raul Hilberg's comprehensive account of how Germany annihilated the Jewish community of Europe spurred discussion, galvanised further research, and shaped the entire field of Holocaust studies. This revised and expanded edition of Hilberg's classic work extends the scope of his study and includes 80,000 words of new material, particularly from recently opened archives in eastern Europe, added over a lifetime of research. It is the definitive work of a scholar who has devoted more than 50 years to exploring and analysing the realities of the Holocaust. Spanning the 12-year period of anti-Jewish actions from 1933 to 1945, Hilberg's study encompasses Germany and all the territories under German rule or influence. Its principal focus is on the large number of perpetrators - civil servants, military personnel, Nazi party functionaries, SS men, and representatives of private enterprises - in the machinery of death.

920 citations


"Documenting atrocities around the w..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Arendt’s theories were not only criticized but also supported by Holocaust scholars such us Bauman (1989), Browning (1992) and Hilberg (1985), as Foster points out (2000: 2)....

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