By Marcel Stoetzler
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Extra resources for Antisemitism and the constitution of sociology
Different from other critics who had already pointed out that Bauer’s characterization of the Jews had no basis in reality, Marx did not waste time on such blatantly obvious points and put forward instead the argument that all the things of which the Jews were accused were in fact general characteristics of modern society; the question whether these things also characterized the Jews—as they did everybody else—was therefore irrelevant. Fine concludes that in this reading, Marx’s second essay on “the Jewish question” continued the first essay’s argument for the detachment of the right of emancipation of Jews from all prior qualifications demanded by liberals and nationalists.
It seems that American sociology in that period tended to see Jews as carriers of a welcome modernization process that was in essence, though, coded as American rather than Jewish; by and large, they appeared at that point in time neither as too modern nor as obstacles to modernity, as was the case with antisemitism in Europe in its two main dimensions. King writes that “American sociology was historically more preoccupied with . . ” This situation changed after World War II. King writes that three factors—the Holocaust (and having escaped it), having gained unprecedented affluence as well as access to universities, and the foundation of the state of Israel—resulted in a newly configured, specifically American Jewish consciousness that was manifested in a more open concern with things Jewish also in academia.
If sociology is about the search for a modern society healed from or reconciled with its contradictions, then it is less than surprising that many of those who suffer from antisemitism as one of the latter’s foremost expressions would dedicate themselves to it. 4. This became Stoetzler, The State, the Nation and the Jews. 5. Turner, “Sociology and Fascism in the Interwar Period,” 6, 7, 9. 6. ” 7. Ranulf, “Scholarly Forerunners of Fascism,” 33–34. ” According to Barbalet, the failure of Ranulf ’s work to have had a significant impact on the sociological tradition may primarily be due to the lack of an institutional environment for sociology in Denmark before the 1980s.