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The Civil Sphere$
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Jeffrey C. Alexander

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195162509

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195162509.001.0001

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Answering the Jewish Question in America

Answering the Jewish Question in America

Before and After the Holocaust

Chapter:
(p.503) Chapter 19 Answering the Jewish Question in America
Source:
The Civil Sphere
Author(s):

Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195162509.003.0036

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

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