This explains that other things had to happen

This essay attempts to discuss Zygmunt
Bauman’s (1925-2017) theory that modernity, rationality and The Holocaust
coincide with one another. Bauman’s book ‘Modernity
and The Holocaust’ (1989) is a dramatic study of Enlightenment reason and
its possible deathly consequences. Furthermore, Auschwitz, for Bauman, was the
result of the ‘civilising’ mission of modernity and that the Final Solution was
not a dysfunction of Enlightenment rationality but its shocking product. Equally,
Bauman believes that modernity is generated by social upheavals all of which
are traceable to the capitalist world market. Furthermore, Docker (?, p.355) states that
the Enlightenment created reason for modernity, which consumed sensibility and
deprived it of a capacity for wonder, doubt and speculation. The Holocaust is
known as a notorious act of genocide in recent modern history, thus
highlighting white supremacy over indigenous groups, who considered an inferior
threat to the purity of the community. Finally, the dualism proposed by
Foucault (?) of
disciplinary power highlights how repressed humans are. This is demonstrated by
Jews being controlled by internalised power, thus making them passive/docile.  GET RID OF 24 WORDS

Additionally, for them, anti-Semitism is an example of how civilisation
can revert to barbarism and that irrational outbursts like this are inherent in
the dominant form of rationality. The elements of anti-Semitism demonstrate the
limits of the Enlightenment as the fate of the Jews illustrates the tension in
the universal claims in the Enlightenment: they are to be integrated into a
community that does not want them and to which they do not wish to fully belong
themselvesRationality s is defined as the human capacity to
acquire knowledge and/or make intelligent decisions (Cambridge Dictionary,

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Furthermore, Bauman’s approach is
centred on the fact that modernity was a necessary but not a sufficient
condition (1989, p.13). This explains that other things had to happen for such
an event to occur but we have always had the workings of modernity. Also, Bauman
(1989) stated that The Holocaust cannot be simply explained as evil acts by
evil men, and nor was it a ‘Jewish only’ event. This is illustrated by noting
that not all men are evil, some are just obedient to commands from superiors. DUALISM Equally,
Adorno’s (1966) Negative Dialectics
states that the spread of reason is itself an act of domination. Furthermore, the
Holocaust is seen as the highest point in the development of modern society, as
Bauman argues that the likes of the Holocaust has seldom every happened in
practice, thus highlighting both sides of the Enlightenment: how something good
like advancement of reason has turned into something evil like the mass
genocide of Jews.

Furthermore, Bauman agreed with Adorno
and Horkheimer’s (?) thesis on Dialectic
of Enlightenment which indicates that the self-destruction of the
Enlightenment is a threat to social freedom. Likewise, they state that the themes
of Enlightenment have two sides to it: good and bad. They state, that the “Enlightenment has always aimed at liberating human
beings from fear and installing them as masters. Yet the wholly enlightened
earth radiates under the sign of disaster triumphant.” This is further
supported by both Alexander (2013) and Beck (1997), whom argues that modernity
possesses a ‘light’ (progressive) and a ‘dark’ (regressive) side.  This is illustrated in the Holocaust, as the Enlightenment
allowed modernity to assist in wide scale repression of the Jews. Furthermore,
Beck distinguishes modernity between a normative project grounded in democracy,
equality and humanism; and the modern age in which modernity’s opposition to
pre-modern social conditions is resisted by counter modern social movements. Baert
and Silvia (2010) criticises Bauman by stating that there is not one modernity
by many and that the mass elimination of our society allows genocide to happen
as people might turn their heads and not bother looking at what is actually
happening.   Bartov (?) similarly highlights the dark side of modernity’s
emancipatory aspirations: “we wish to annihilate destruction, to kill war, to
eradicate genocide by the most effective and deadly means at our disposal”.
Therefore, modernity’s nature is revealed as ‘destructive, unrelenting and
intolerant’ (Mosses, ?, p.4). GET RID

Eclipse of Reason (1947) =
industrial culture – universal feeling of fear and disillusionment –
reason/enlightenment idea no longer determined and no longer a guiding
principle of actions for our lives  –
reason a tool to be used to produce the end results that we are looking for –
man comes to dominate nature while at the same time dominating others by
dehumanising them

For Bauman, the Holocaust was not a
‘pre-modern’, uncivilised or barbaric act as it is difficult to take the events
during the 1930s/40s and say that it is an aberration of history. However, past
genocidal acts, such as the Armenian genocide, counter argues this point. Thus,
illustrating that genocide has occurred in the past but that it was modern
technology that showed the immediate awareness of such acts. The Ottoman Empire
in 1915 killed 1.5 million Armenians. Consequently, Hitler wanted to recreate
this, as he wanted to wipe out a race that wouldn’t be remembered years later,
illustrated by stating ‘no one remembers the Armenians; no one will ever
remember the Jews’ (REFERENCE).

Bauman uses the imagery of the modern gardening mentality as the modern
ideology to illustrate the relationship between modernity, rationality and The
Holocaust. This illustrates the rationalisation of evil acts. Bauman argues
that modernity comprises a ‘garden society’, which cultivates a homogeneous
social order. He states that those unwilling to conform to the social
norm/moral order are reduced to the status of ‘weeds’ to be excluded or
eliminated (Bauman, 1989, p.92).  Additionally,
Bauman treats modernity as constitutively hostile to difference/otherness
(Bauman, 1991, p.104), which is demonstrated in the treatment of Jews. DUALISM The
modern gardener during the Holocaust believed that Jews were a problem as they
were in the way of the neat vision of society as they were hindering it by
taking resources. Bauman (1989, p.56) stated that the Jews ‘were the opacity of the world frightening for clarity,
the ambiguity of the world lusting for certainty. They bestrode all the
barricades and invited bullets from every side’.  Furthermore, Mann (?) places less
importance on the mechanisms of ‘othering’. She sees them as other, something
that is docile and controlled by internalised power. 


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