Class Notes (837,836)
Canada (510,504)
Sociology (1,100)
SOCY 122 (211)
Rob Beamish (190)
Lecture 2

Sociology Notes Week 20

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SOCY 122
Rob Beamish

Sociology Notes Week 20 War and Genocide o Berger – by looking for levels of reality other than those given I official interpretations of society sociologists must critically examine human conduct  Debunking motif: Unmasking pretensions, propaganda and rationalizations by which people cloak their actions o Global human catastrophe unleashed by WWII is almost certainly the largest in human history o Twentieth century – century of massacres and wars o Golden Age of the twentieth century – aftermath of the second world war resulting in economic growth and social transformation  Korean war  France vs. Vietnam o After France’s defeat against Vietnam was divided into the Northern pro- communist regime and a southern pro-western regime  American’s Gulf of Tonkin Resolution led to full-scale US involvement in the North vs. South Vietnam war o End of Golden age –  Russian war  Iran-Iraq war  Gulf war  Rwanda  Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia Kosovo Why People Kill Systematically o Solzhenitsyn – questioned whether people were born evil after the Stalin prison guard cruelty  Find line dividing good and evil  Same human being under different circumstances an be totally different  Humans go back and forth between good and evil  Possibility of returning remains as long as the threshold of evildoing is not crossed o Evil actions are seen from the perspective of the individual and once the threshold of evildoing is crossed humanity is left behind o Sociologist must explain social pressures constituted in everyday lives of people in particular situations and how they are created by social context o Hitler’s Willing Executioners- Goldhagen argued that explanation for the Holocaust lies in a uniquely German eliminationist anti-Semitism  Anti-Semitism moved ordinary Germans to slaughter Jews – not economic hardship or sociological pressures  Ideas that Jews were pervasive in Germany induced ordinary Germans to kill defenseless Jews systematically without pity  Sui generis event – conditions created by incubating, pervasive, racist, eliminationist Anti-Semitism of German culture  German culture mobilized by genocidal ideology and given shape by charismatic leader committed to eliminationism  Anti-Semitism provided motivational source for German leadership o No other country’s anti-Semitism was so widespread to have been a cultural axiom like in Germany – sui generis o Solzhenitsyn is too psychological and micro-level while Goldhagen gives too much weight to ideology and is too macro-level o Sociologically understanding atrocities of war requires:  Immersion into social relationships  Construction of meaning  Social constitution of reality  Must bring forth structural elements and social forces that shaped understanding of the social world and daily actions War, Raison d’état and Governmentality o Carl von Clausewitz’s aphorism: War is no more than a continuation of politics – warm is not merely a political act but a true political instrument, a continuation of political communication  War is first and foremost a political instrument  War is an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will  War is a social phenomenon carried out by real men and women  War involves the production of combat soldiers through mechanics of discipline in the modern era o War is a tension laden, dialectical unity of considerable complexity – oppositions are inseparable  Force vs. resistance  Willful vs. deliberated  Physical vs. intellectual  Emotional vs. rational  Action vs. instrument o War is a double-edged sword – social phenomenon that nation states must always take into account when interaction with others  Dialectic of force and policy, boldness and prudence is inescapable o Europe and the notions of raison d’état and Governmentality that developed in the sixteenth century set the stage for the European wars o Foucault – raison d’état must be characterized by the preservation of the stage in accordance with its essence as state  Establishment, preservation and expansion of a republic  Objectives require an art of government – skill and rationality in the means employed to govern o Raison d’état – skills Governmentality would preserve and expand the state and the historical reality upon which the idea of a multiple state space was based - Treaty of Westphalia  Originated with the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia – put an end to old forms of universality  New emphasis in independent nations  Represented the end of the Roman Empire’s enduring legacy of imperial ambition  Established division of the church – diplomacy and negotiation were still possible despite religious differences  Independent states could no longer form alliances based on shared religious outlook  Independent states sought to assert themselves in commercial competition and domination as well as control o Wars are the product of the end of the legacy of the Roman Empire and feudal Europe – emerged with the growth of market societies  Industrialization  Enlightenment  Rise of dominance of instrumental reason  Formation of independent states with centralized government o Clausewitz dismisses the Platonic conception of war as a pure form in favour of understanding war as a socially created, constructed phenomenon o Focused on these aspects to ring social dynamics and reality of war forward  Danger in war  Physical effort in war  Intelligence in war  Friction in war o Third reality of war – war is a social phenomenon carried out by real men and women o War begins with the modern raison d’etat – existence of competing nation- states seeking to establish / maintain coherence and negotiate with other powerful nation-states over external boundary definitions o States through strategic application of instrumental reason, industrialization and capital investment developed technologies of physical destruction  Power of a nation rests in its ability to shape and harness technologist of power  Destructive capacity rests on weapons and material technologies of power  No war can be fought without the human component o Final point: Production of combat soldiers through mechanics of discipline in the modern era o Gwynne Dyer: The business of armies, at the end is killing  Critical part of training people to be soldiers is teaching them to ignore limits they normally place in the use of violence o Natural soldier: Man who derives greatest satisfaction from male companionship, excitement and conquering of obstacles o Even trained soldiers under conditions of combat are reluctant to fire their weapons – fear never disappears though it is better managed  Soldiers were rarely prepared for the confusion and noise, chaos and disorder and death they encountered o Killing became easier as men grew desensitized – had to give up something of themselves in order to do so  Process by which soldier programed himself to do his job while retaining as much sanity as possible  Not necessarily devoid of morals or compassion o Military is a carceral institution – individuals learn to self-discipline so that they can carry out the institution’s mission o Power is a partial and misleading perception of the military o By de-institutionalizing power and recognizing the form of power an institution holds over people is less significant that self-discipline power o One must focus on how relations of power are formed, connected, developed, multiplied and transformed on the basis of social relationships Four Elements of War o Dialectical complexity of war o Significance of modernity as the overall social context o Specific social context of war o Technologies of power that discipline soldiers and civilian populations The Eastern Front: From war to Genocide o Hitler’s belief – he could found Der tausend Jahre Reich – empire that would last thousands of years and eclipse greatness of other empires  Unified German speaking people and their rightful place of dominance o Operation Barbarossa would provide Hitler with expanse of living space in the East (Mein Kampf) critical to the expansion of the Third Reich 
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