First, read the introductory essay located in Section Three of the course text, Social Theory Re-Wired. Then, read the contemporary theoretical work by Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust in Section Three of the course text, Social Theory Re-Wired. The introductory essay starts its focus on modern technology and the resulting challenges to society leading to significant social change. The section ends however, with a theoretical work by Zygmunt Bauman which highlights that some aspects of modernity have not changed, with potentially catastrophic results. Ponder the following questions as you move though the reading. Be sure to review the recommended resources listed above for additional materials related to this discussion.

Answer the following:

  • Explain at least three (3) “dark sides” of modernity presented in the introductory essay.
  • According to Bauman, why is it important not to relegate the analysis of the Holocaust to academic interest? Why do we need to ensure that we acknowledge that there is a continuing potential for genocide in society?
  • In this excerpt, Bauman says, “People refused to believe the facts they stared at.” Can you think of a situation where you realized – after the fact – that the facts had been there all along?
    • Bauman is asking us to face the possibility of another Holocaust-like tragedy happening in contemporary Western Civilization. When you consider that possibility, what kinds of thoughts do you have? If you think it is unlikely, why? If you think it is likely, why?
    • Rather than see the Holocaust as an aberration, Bauman argues that the social norms and institutions of modernity helped facilitate the Holocaust. What does he mean by this?