Answering the Jewish Question in America

Jeffrey C. Alexander

in The Civil Sphere

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195162509
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199943364 | DOI:
Answering the Jewish Question in America

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The collapse of the civil sphere in Germany, not German anti-Semitism, is what allowed the Holocaust to proceed, this chapter states. That it was problems in the civil sphere that caused the Holocaust is demonstrated by the uneven but increasingly substantial Jewish incorporation into the modern, capitalist, and often deeply anti-Semitic United States in the latter half of the twentieth century. This chapter completes the discussion of civil society and the Jewish question by considering this critical case. It provides one final demonstration of how contingent is the institutionalization of the promises of civil society. Whether these promissory notes are paid does not depend on the presence or absence of Enlightenment ideals. What is decisive is their implementation in a fragmented civil sphere.

Keywords: civil sphere; Holocaust; anti-Semitism; Germany; Jewish incorporation; civil society; United States; assimilation

Chapter.  17168 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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