Toward a Theoretical Perspective

George C. Browder

in Hitler's Enforcers

Published in print February 1997 | ISBN: 9780195104790
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854462 | DOI:
Toward a Theoretical Perspective

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The clues to the significance of self-images or ego identities in some of the modal subsets encourage one to look for links between them and the different missions and images within Sicherheitspolizei (Sipo) and Sicherheitsdienst (SD). The analysis of SD membership also suggests the relevance of theories about “sanctioned violence” developed by Herbert Kelman, a social psychologist. He rejects all explanations based on any abnormality among the perpetrators, arguing instead that most participants are “ordinary men” drawn into committing such acts. His theories cast light on how such a heterogeneous group involved themselves in sanctioned violence. Kelman argues that normal people respond to social influences in three basic ways: compliance, identification, and internalization. Paralleling these three responses are three orientations to political processes: rule, role, and value orientation. These are different ways that one relates to the nation-state or any other unit that commands obedience and loyalty.

Keywords: Sicherheitsdienst; membership; sanctioned violence; Herbert Kelman; ordinary men; social influences; compliance; identification; internalization; Sicherheitspolizei

Chapter.  9484 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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