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Remembering the HolocaustA Debate$
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Jeffrey C. Alexander

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195326222

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326222.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 January 2022

On the Political Corruptions of a Moral Universal

On the Political Corruptions of a Moral Universal

(p.135) On the Political Corruptions of a Moral Universal
Remembering the Holocaust

Robert Manne

Oxford University Press

In this response to Jeffrey Alexander's chapter, “The Social Construction of Moral Universals,” this chapter offers a somewhat skeptical critique after outlining a political reading of what he has to say. It agrees a great deal with Alexander's account, accepting the basic periodization that the Jewish killings by the Nazis only became the Holocaust sometime in the 1960s. Despite such agreements, the chapter concentrates on some basic misgivings about the case presented by Alexander. Alexander believes no historical event is self-interpreting. There are some difficulties with this kind of popular-cultural explanation of the emergence of the Holocaust as the central moral-political myth of the modern Western world. The chapter argues that the most fundamental misgiving about Alexander's argument is his reading of the place of the Holocaust in contemporary political life.

Keywords:   Jeffrey Alexander, moral universal, political reading, Holocaust, Jewish killings, Nazi, contemporary political life

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