Critical theories of antisemitism
Seymour, David (David M.) (1999) Critical theories of antisemitism. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
WRAP_THESIS_Seymour_1999.pdf - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1659718~S15
Distinguishing between different ways of thinking about antisemitism, this study
concentrates on those theories that understand antisemitism as a uniquely modern
phenomenon. Covering the period from the mid-19th century to the present day, it
first examines the work of Marx and Nietzsche and then moves on to those theorists
who wrote in the immediate aftermath of the holocaust and concludes with the
postmodern writings of Bauman and Lyotard. It argues that these critical theories of
antisemitism all relate the emergence of antisemitism to modern forms of political
emancipation and questions the impact of the holocaust upon this body of thought.
The study argues that the fluidity and open-endedness by which the early writers
characterise modernity - most notably the ambivalence within modernity itself
between the possibility of full emancipation and barbarity - comes to be replaced by
an increasing pessimism that sees antisemitism as modernity's only possible outcome.
It argues that this change is accompanied first by increasing the centrality of
antisemitism to modernity, and also by defining more rigidly the concepts by which
antisemitism is explained, most noticeably, the concept of "the Jews". This study
argues that as a result of these interrelated developments, critical theories replicate
many of the assumptions of the antisemitic worldview identified in the early works.
By calling for a cautious and critical return to these earlier ways of explaining
antisemitism, the study concludes by pointing to an approach that remains within the
tradition of critical theory, but which re-establishes the critical distance between ways
of accounting for antisemitism and the phenomenon itself - one in which the "Jewish
question" is de-centred, the explanatory concepts reopened to question and the
promise of emancipation reinvigorated.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||D History General and Old World > DS Asia|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Antisemitism -- History -- 19th century, Antisemitism -- History -- 20th century, Jews -- Emancipation, Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)|
|Official Date:||August 1999|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of Sociology|
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