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Compromised Identities? Reflections on Perpetration and Complicity under Nazism
The project aims to transform our understanding of the character and personal legacies of perpetration and complicity in systems of collective violence over time. It analyses entanglement in collective violence under Nazism, and later reflections on such experiences, developing the concept of 'compromised identities' to explore historical subjectivities under changing circumstances. There are several interrelated research objectives, including: to develop a structural and interpretive approach to understanding the formation of a 'bystander society' in which widespread complicity and involvement in perpetration is possible; to examine strategies of self-representation by individuals involved, at the time and later; to understand the intersections between subjective identity and wider political contexts, legal interventions, and public representations; and to explore the links between personal narratives and cultural engagement with questions of violence, morality and justice. A focus on 'the perpetrator side' will thus illuminate both the dynamics of widespread involvement in collective violence and the complexities of dealing with its aftermath, whether in courts of law, in public representations, or in the privacy of the family.
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