Talk: Dehumanizing Strategies in Nazi Ideology and their Anthropological Context
From Johannes Steizinger on November 9th, 2020
Abstract: Several authors have recently questioned whether dehumanization is a psychological prerequisite of mass violence. This talk argues that the significance of dehumanization in the context of National Socialism (NS) can be understood only if its ideological dimension is taken into account. NS regarded itself as a political revolution, realizing a new concept of humanity. Nazi ideologues undergirded the self-understanding of NS by developing racist anthropologies. This talk focuses on Alfred Rosenberg’s version of Nazi ideology, drawing historical and systematic conclusions from his racist strategy of dehumanization: 1) The Nazi concept of race was broader than usually assumed, allowing for biological, cultural, or metaphysical foundations of race. 2) Nazi ideology was well embedded in the broader anthropological debates of early-twentieth-century Germany. 3) Nazi ideology was characterized by a complex strategy of dehumanization which is not considered in current debates, suggesting a model of dehumanization that is more plausible than the prevalent psychological models. 4) The focus on ideology also provides evidence that this kind of dehumanization had psychological consequences and hence was an important feature of Nazi reality.
Picture credits: Slide 1 retrieved from https://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/schul43.htm
Disclaimer: This talk discusses material (Nazi propaganda) and examples (Nazi concentration camps) that could be experienced as offensive or harmful.