Autonomy in the Extreme Situation: Bruno Bettelheim, the Nazi Concentration Camps and the Mass Society

Author(s) : Paul Marcus

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Autonomy in the Extreme Situation: Bruno Bettelheim, the Nazi Concentration Camps and the Mass Society

Book Details

  • Publisher : Praeger
  • Published : January 1999
  • Cover : Hardback
  • Pages : 228
  • Category :
    Group Psychotherapy
  • Category 2 :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 8186
  • ISBN 13 : 9780275947255
  • ISBN 10 : 0275947254
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This work presents an attempt to elucidate and develop Bettelheim's controversial insights on the behaviour of concentration camp inmates. A discussion of the significance of Bettelheim's findings about inmate behaviour and how we can protect ourselves against assaults on our autonomy.

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Bettelheim upheld that the inmate's struggle in a concentration camp is the extreme example of the modern dilemma of maintaining autonomy in the depersonalizing mass society, such as the in the United States and Western Europe. This study elucidates, critiques and further develops Bettelheim's pathbreaking and controversial insights on the behaviour of concentration camp inmates. It provides the rudiments of a new framework for conceptualizing inmate behaviour and presents a treatment of Bettelheim's views on the dangers of contemporary society. The author accomplishes his goals in part by drawing from such social theorists as Michel Foucault, Anthony Giddens, Erving Goffman, Zygmunt Bauman and Emmanuel Levinas, as well as psychoanalytically oriented thinkers such as Roy Schafer. The book concludes with a discussion of the significance of Bettelheim's findings about inmate behaviour in the camps, and how we in our mass society can protect ourselves, resist and fight back against the assaults on our autonomy, individuality and humanity.

Contents:
The Concordance of Opposites and the Mass Society; Bettelheim's Analysis of the Mass Society; Concentration Camp Inmate's Behaviour Dialectically Conceptualized; Autonomous Behaviour in the Concentration Camps; "Survival at Any Price" in the Concentration Camps; The Critics; Resistance to the Negative Aspects of the Mass Society.

About the Author(s)

Paul Marcus, PhD, is a supervising and training analyst at the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. He is the author of Being for The Other: Emmanuel Levinas, Ethical Living and Psychoanalysis; Autonomy in the Extreme Situation: Bruno Bettelheim, the Nazi Concentration Camps, and the Mass Society and Ancient Religious Wisdom, Spirituality and Psychoanalysis, among other books. Dr Marcus is married with two children and lives in Great Neck, New York.

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