Fathoming the Holocaust: A Social Problems Approach (Social Problems and Social Issues)

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9780202306704: Fathoming the Holocaust: A Social Problems Approach (Social Problems and Social Issues)

Fathoming the Holocaust represents the culmination of a singular effort to attempt to explain the Final Solution to the "Jewish Problem" in terms of a general theory of social problems construction. The book is comprehensive in scope, covering the origins and emergence of the Final Solution, wartime reaction to it, and the postwar memory of the genocide. It does so within the framework of a social problems construction, a perspective that treats social problems not as a condition but as an activity that identifies and defines problems, persuades others that something must be done about them, and generates practical programs of remedial action.

Berger holds that social problems have a "natural history," that is, they evolve through a sequence of stages that entail the development and unfolding of claims about problems and the formulation and implementation of solutions. Fathoming the Holocaust is therefore a book that aims to advance sociological understanding of the Holocaust, not simply to describe its history, but to examine its social construction, that is, to understand it as a consequence of concerted human activity. In doing so, Berger hopes to encourage the teaching of the Holocaust in the social scientific curricula of higher education. In contrast to the extensive historical literature on the Holocaust, Berger offers a distinctly sociological approach that examines how the Holocaust was constructed--first as a social policy designed by the Nazis, implemented by functionaries, and resisted by its victims and opponents; later as several varying layers of historical memory.

The scope of this book extends from the prewar through the contemporary periods, focusing on the societal issues governing the interpreting of these events in Israel, the German Federal Republic, and the United States. Berger's is a text with both large general interest and essential material for courses in social problems, European history, and Jewish studies.

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About the Author:

Ronald J. Berger is professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. His work has appeared in Contexts, Perspectives on Social Problems, Qualitative Inquiry, Social Science Quarterly, and Sociological Quarterly. He is the author of numerous books, including Surviving the Holocaust: A Life Course Perspective and White-Collar Crime: The Abuse of Corporate and Government Power.

Review:

“Berger’s methodology introduces a new and discerning approach to a very complex field of study. For readers new to the field, this book provides some crucial background material in Holocaust Studies; for those already familiar with the field, Berger’s book provides another way of grappling with the difficult subject matter. His book is well organized, with an excellent bibliography and end-notes replete with additional critical and supplementary information.”

—Marilyn F. Nefsky, Sociology of Religion

“Berger skillfully guides the reader through the “sociological frameworks” of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, and to Joel Best and his fellow constructivists, whose work form the groundwork of his sociological understanding of the Holocaust.”

—Noel Iverson, Canadian Review of Sociology & Anthropology

“The extraordinary violence that characterizes the twentieth century has earned the period the title, “The Century of Genocide.” The Holocaust is the most profound tragedy of this century. Philosophers, historians, psychologists, and theologians still grapple with understanding its causes, processes, and consequences. Yet, sociologists have been slow to take on this challenge. In Fathoming the Holocaust, Ronald Berger attempts to fill this gap by providing a sociological lens to explain the Final Solution.”

—Lynn Rapaport, Contemporary Sociology

“Ronald J. Berger brings a sociological perspective to keys issues in Holocaust history in a new and insightful manner. He applies "a general theory of social problems construction" to his study of the Final Solution, from its origins to the emergence of conflicting postwar collective memories. In so doing, he broadens our understanding of this dark chapter of modern history . . . creat[ing] a cogent and well-written case for the importance of sociological reflection on the Holocaust.”

—Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Fathoming the Holocaust is an engaging book that reveals the power and value of the sociological imagination, offering readers a distinctive understanding of how history, society, and biography intersect in the construction and remembrance of the Holocaust.... This cogent and panoramic book not only makes an important contribution to the literature on the Holocaust, but also to the literatures on social problems, collective memory, genocide, ethnicity, altruism, historical sociology, and ... the sociology of religion.... In addition to being thoughtful and well written, this book illustrates how and why sociology, at its best, is a craft that promotes a distinctive and empowering form of imagination.”

—Teaching Sociology

“This excellent book addresses the social construction of two problems: the problem of "the Jew" in Nazi Germany, and the problem of how the Holocaust has been constructed and used since .. . post-1945.... I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to teach not only about the Holocaust, but also about its ideological aftermath.... Fathoming the Holocaust is also an important text for those who wish to research how other social "problems" that result in human rights abuses, crimes against humanity, or genocide are constructed, as well as how after-the-fact victim claims are made and manipulated.”

—Canadian Journal of Sociology Online

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Book Description Taylor Francis Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. This volume on the Holocaust explains the Final Solution to the Jewish problem from the perspective of social problems construction. It covers the origins and implementation of the genocidal strategy of National Socialism, the wartime reaction to it and the postwar collective memory of the genocide. Fathoming the Holocaust opens by reviewing how historians have studied the subject, considering several avenues of sociological analysis and introducing the approach the author adopts. It then looks at the historical construction of the Jewish problem as it was constituted through Christian and racial claims about Jews. The rise of Hitler s movement to power is examined, as well as the subsquent formulation of successive solutions to the Jewish problem , a formulation that evolved through legislation and then emigration/deportation to the Final Solution. Next, it consders the organizational settings and processes involved in implementing these solutions and explores the roles of collaborators and businesses profiting from the solutions. However, the Final Solution did not poroceed without resistance from those, Jews and Gentiles, including Allied governments, who organized to thwart the implementation process. These attempts at subversion of the process of destruction are discussed. The natural history of the Holocaust did not end with the defeat of Nazism, for the postwar memory of those events constitues a problem in its own right. The book continues by examining how collective memories of the genocide were constructed in three nations central to the Holocaust memory: Israel, the Federal Republic of Germany and the US. Berger concludes by considering interelated issues that have emeraged as significant problems. Among these are the problem of religious faith, the problems of Jewish continuity and of Christian-Jewish reconciliation, and the general problem of difference that underlies various forms of exclusionary social practices. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780202306704

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Book Description Taylor Francis Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. This volume on the Holocaust explains the Final Solution to the Jewish problem from the perspective of social problems construction. It covers the origins and implementation of the genocidal strategy of National Socialism, the wartime reaction to it and the postwar collective memory of the genocide. Fathoming the Holocaust opens by reviewing how historians have studied the subject, considering several avenues of sociological analysis and introducing the approach the author adopts. It then looks at the historical construction of the Jewish problem as it was constituted through Christian and racial claims about Jews. The rise of Hitler s movement to power is examined, as well as the subsquent formulation of successive solutions to the Jewish problem , a formulation that evolved through legislation and then emigration/deportation to the Final Solution. Next, it consders the organizational settings and processes involved in implementing these solutions and explores the roles of collaborators and businesses profiting from the solutions. However, the Final Solution did not poroceed without resistance from those, Jews and Gentiles, including Allied governments, who organized to thwart the implementation process. These attempts at subversion of the process of destruction are discussed. The natural history of the Holocaust did not end with the defeat of Nazism, for the postwar memory of those events constitues a problem in its own right. The book continues by examining how collective memories of the genocide were constructed in three nations central to the Holocaust memory: Israel, the Federal Republic of Germany and the US. Berger concludes by considering interelated issues that have emeraged as significant problems. Among these are the problem of religious faith, the problems of Jewish continuity and of Christian-Jewish reconciliation, and the general problem of difference that underlies various forms of exclusionary social practices. Bookseller Inventory # AA69780202306704

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Book Description Taylor Francis Inc, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. This volume on the Holocaust explains the Final Solution to the Jewish problem from the perspective of social problems construction. It covers the origins and implementation of the genocidal strategy of National Socialism, the wartime reaction to it and the postwar collective memory of the genocide. Fathoming the Holocaust opens by reviewing how historians have studied the subject, considering several avenues of sociological analysis and introducing the approach the author adopts. It then looks at the historical construction of the Jewish problem as it was constituted through Christian and racial claims about Jews. The rise of Hitler s movement to power is examined, as well as the subsquent formulation of successive solutions to the Jewish problem , a formulation that evolved through legislation and then emigration/deportation to the Final Solution. Next, it consders the organizational settings and processes involved in implementing these solutions and explores the roles of collaborators and businesses profiting from the solutions. However, the Final Solution did not poroceed without resistance from those, Jews and Gentiles, including Allied governments, who organized to thwart the implementation process. These attempts at subversion of the process of destruction are discussed. The natural history of the Holocaust did not end with the defeat of Nazism, for the postwar memory of those events constitues a problem in its own right. The book continues by examining how collective memories of the genocide were constructed in three nations central to the Holocaust memory: Israel, the Federal Republic of Germany and the US. Berger concludes by considering interelated issues that have emeraged as significant problems. Among these are the problem of religious faith, the problems of Jewish continuity and of Christian-Jewish reconciliation, and the general problem of difference that underlies various forms of exclusionary social practices. Bookseller Inventory # AA69780202306704

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