The Obedience Alibi: Milgram ’s Account of the Holocaust Reconsidered

Analyse & Kritik 20 (1):74-94 (1998)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Stanley Milgram’s work on obedience to authority is social psychology’s most influential contribution to theorizing about Holocaust perpetration. The gist of Milgram’s claims is that Holocaust perpetrators were just following orders out of a sense of obligation to their superiors. Milgram, however, never undertook a scholarly analysis of how his obedience experiments related to the Holocaust. The author first discusses the major theoretical limitations of Milgram’s position and then examines the implications of Milgram’s (oft-ignored) experimental manipulations for Holocaust theorizing, contrasting a specific case of Holocaust perpetration by Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police. It is concluded that Milgram’s empirical findings, in fact, do not support his position-one that essentially constitutes an obedience alibi. The article ends with a discussion of some of the social dangers of the obedience alibi.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,227

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Jacobitism of Berkeley's Passive Obedience.David Berman - 1986 - Journal of the History of Ideas 47 (2):309-319.
Without alibi.Jacques Derrida - 2002 - Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Edited by Peggy Kamuf.
Beyond mere obedience.Dorothee Sölle - 1970 - Minneapolis,: Augsburg Pub. House.
Does Christian Faith Rule out Human Autonomy?Louis Roy - 2012 - Heythrop Journal 53 (4):606-623.
Jacques Derrida, Without Alibi.P. Derbyshire - forthcoming - Radical Philosophy.
Military obedience.Nico Keijzer - 1978 - Alphen aan den Rijn: Sijthoff & Noordhoff, [International Publishers].
Jacques Derrida, Without Alibi Reviewed by.Jack Reynolds - 2003 - Philosophy in Review 23 (4):250-252.


Added to PP

122 (#148,765)

6 months
13 (#200,551)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

Add more references