Trutz von Trotha / Jakob Rösel (eds.): On Cruelty · Sur la cruauté · Über Grausamkeit [PDF]


Includes 7% VAT

SBS Siegener Beiträge zur Soziologie vol. 11

To view and read PDF documents, you need a PDF reader, e.g. Adobe Acrobat Reader or Foxit Reader.


VIII, 585 pp.
4 b/w photos, 2 colour illustrations, 14 b/w figures

Text languages: English, German, French

Cruelty has many faces. It would be pointless to aim to list all forms of cruelty, from a child’s torment of animals to torture by secret police. Even the institutionalized forms are remarkably manifold – war, torture, prison camps, forced prostitution, human sacrifice, bloody initiation rituals, deadly and bloody combat sports, hate radio, splatter movies or public torture of animals are just some examples.

The list of institutionalized cruelty remains ever-unfinished, as cruelty itself develops to remain state-of-the-art – from impalement, crucifixion, garrote and guillotine to the mass shootings, gas chambers, and human experimentation of Nazi Germany, and the weapons of the Holodomor and Gulags of Stalinism, to the homosexuals in Iran who are hanged on cranes, the hand grenades of the Interahamwe, and the orange suits of the prisoners at Guantánamo.

Cruelty is a mirror of the living conditions and achievements of a society. It appears to be as old as humanity itself and crosses societal and cultural boundaries. No society can say that it does not allow cruelty to exist, even if societies differ to an extreme in the amount of space they give to cruelty and which forms are practiced in these particular spaces. Cruelty as an empirical phenomenon appears unable to avoid the cultural and historical relativity of good and evil, morality and immorality, and right and wrong.

Researchers from throughout Europe and the United States met at the conference on Institutions of Cruelty – Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Rostock, Germany, in late June 2009, to reflect on and discuss the prospects for theory building and research on cruelty. The treatments published in this volume give insight into the subject matter of the conference by presenting interdisciplinary research findings – from anthropological, sociological, psychological and political philosophical foundations of cruelty over topics on torture and human sacrifice – from an historical as well as contemporary point of view – up to various perspectives on the history of cruelty in different parts of the world.

While the individual articles have different emphases, the overall context is an ethnography of cruelty that cannot be deterred or restricted by the boundaries of societies, cultures, or historical epochs. Taken together, the articles claim to examine cruelty as a universal phenomenon, whereby also anthropological issues are given high priority in the coordinate framework of the research questions.



Trutz von Trotha: On Cruelty – Conceptual Considerations and a Summary of an Interdisciplinary Debate

Part I – On the Foundations of a Theory of Cruelty

Étienne Le Roy: Entre évitements et engagements citoyens – Pour une épistémologie transmoderne d’une science de la cruauté et une éthique de la citoyenneté

Heike Kämpf: Grausamkeit aus der Sicht der Philosophischen Anthropologie

Part II – Psychological and Anthropological Foundations of Cruelty

Sophie de Mijolla-Mellor: Approche psychanalytique de la cruauté

Trutz von Trotha: Dispositionen der Grausamkeit – Über die anthropologischen Grundlagen grausamen Handelns

Part III – On the Anthropology, Sociology, and Political Philosophy of Cruelty

Jürg Helbling: The Tactical Use of Cruelty in Tribal Warfare

Randall Collins: Ritual Boundary Violence and Bureaucratic Callousness – Two Structural Causes of Cruelty

Thomas Klatetzki: Cruel Identities

Yves Bizeul: Éléments d’une philosophie politique de la cruauté

Dierk Spreen: Cruelty and Total War – Political-Philosophical Preconditions of the Dissociation Mentality

Part IV – On Human Sacrifice

Antje Gunsenheimer: The Study of Human Sacrifices in Pre-Columbian Cultures – A Challenge for Ethnohistorical and Archaeological Research

Hubert Roeder: Der Nedjti zwischen Kriegszug und Vernichtungsopfer – Potenzielle Räume institutionalisierter Grausamkeit im Alten Ägypten

Heinz-Günther Stobbe: Menschenopfer als Institution der Grausamkeit – Ihre Überwindung als Paradigma zur Lösung interkultureller Konflikte

Part V – On Torture

Katharina Inhetveen: Towards a Body Sociology of Torture

Hans-Jörg Albrecht: Grausamkeit – eine juristische Perspektive

Jörg Kinzig: Rückkehr der Folter? Die juristische Debatte über Folter in Deutschland

Wolfgang Grenz: Challenges to the Global Fight Against Torture

Part VI – On the History of Cruelty

Jakob Rösel: Grausame Herrscher – die Delhi-Sultane

María Isabel del Val Valdivieso: Cruelty in Medieval Castile – War, Towns and Monarchy in the XV Century

Matthias Häussler: Grausamkeit und Kolonialismus – Zur Dynamik von Grausamkeit

Angela Schwarz: “… absurd to make moan over the imagined humiliation and degradation“ – Exhibiting the Colonial Other at World’s Fairs and the Institutionalization of Cruelty

Andreas Baumer: The Civil War and the Regime of Generalísimo Franco – Cruelty as a Strategy for the Obtainment, Legitimisation, and Consolidation of Political Power

Summaries of the Contributions
Some Notes on the Contributors

Several conference proceedings volumes of the Working Group of German-French Legal Ethnologists (AGERE) have also been published in our programme:

W.J.G. Möhlig / T. von Trotha (Hrsg./éds.): Legitimation von Herrschaft und Recht / La légitimation du pouvoir et du droit [PDF]

J. Rösel / T. von Trotha (éds.): Décentralisation, démocratisation, et les représentations locales de la force publique [PDF]

J. Rösel / T. von Trotha (eds./éds.): The Reorganisation or the End of Constitutional Liberties? La réorganisation ou la fin de l’état de droit? [PDF]

You may also like…