Guilt and Defense

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-06-15
  • Publisher: Harvard Univ Pr
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It remains a pressing question to this day: How did the German people come to terms with the legacies of Nazism? Shortly after World War II, Theodor Adorno and his Frankfurt School colleagues addressed this question in a massive empirical study employing focus groups. The substantive results, originally published as Gruppenexperiment, appear here in its first book-length translation, along with Adornors"s accompanying essay on "Guilt and Defense," a psychologically informed analysis of the rhetorical and conceptual mechanisms with which postwar Germans most often denied responsibility for the Nazi past. The volume includes a 1957 critique by the psychologist Peter R. Hoffstater as well as Adornors"s rejoinder.The editorsrs" introduction shows how one of Adornors"s best-known works, "The Meaning of Working through the Past," becomes comprehensible only as a conclusion to Adornors"s long-standing research and the debate it stirred. Understood thus, this hitherto shy;little-known debate provides important new perspectives on postwar German political culture, the dynamics of collective memory, and the intellectual legacy of one of the twentieth centuryrs"s great thinkers.

Author Biography

Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969) was a leading figure in the Frankfurt School and one of this century's most demanding intellectuals. Recognized for his contributions to the fields of philosophy, sociology, aesthetics, literary criticism, and musicology, Adorno continues to be a thinker of extraordinary influence and importance in Germany, and his reputation continues to grow in the English-speaking world as his many works are translated.
Jeffrey K. Olick is Professor of Sociology and History, University of Virginia.
Andrew J. Perrin is Associate Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Note on Translationp. xi
The Original Publicationsp. xiii
Guilt and Defense: Theodor Adorno and the Legacies of National Socialism in German Societyp. 3
Guilt and Defense
Final Version of the Basic Stimulus (Colburn Letter)p. 45
Prefacep. 48
Guilt and Defensep. 51
Knowledge of the Eventsp. 56
Guiltp. 70
The Self-Image of the Participantsp. 87
The Reality behind Defensiveness: Truth and Ideologyp. 97
Defensep. 114
Elements of National Socialist Ideologyp. 138
The Ambivalent Onesp. 158
Open-minded Participantsp. 169
The Debate with Hofstätter
"On Group Experiment by F. Pollock: A Critical Appraisal"p. 189
"Reply to Peter R. Hofstätter's Critique of Group Experiment"p. 197
Working Through the Past
"The Meaning of Working Through the Past"p. 213
Indexp. 229
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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