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Sociology of Evil - Essay Example

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In Arendt’s ‘banality of evil’, she tries to explore the question as to the reasons on why people commit evil acts and how such perpetrators of evil are different from the rest of the population. She found that people who commit evil acts are not necessarily bad, but may…
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Sociology of Evil

Download file to see previous pages... To her, evil results from thoughtlessness and any attempt to engage thought in it will be futile as it cannot give reasons for the origins and principles of evil. The use of the term banality of evil has been important in the examination of several evil acts that have occurred in the world such as the Holocaust, genocides in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia amongst other evil acts in the world. It is important to note that in a discussion on banality of crime, a, an action may be condemned by authorities but still remain moral or an action embraced by the whole community may also be immoral. This means that what society thinks as immoral or evil is what matters and this helps in the manipulation of how an individual acts. Evil can become banal if ordinary individuals play a part in it and justify them in different ways so that the evil becomes faceless (Russell 2014, p.74).
According to Arendt, the world is just unjust and the mere acceptance of the evil rather than ignorance of it is what blinds the society from seeing the evil itself (Miller 2004, p.209) This means that when sociologists recognize crime, they mostly analyse them using pre-existing sociological perspectives which may not necessarily be their causes. Arendt discusses evil within the moral discourse by trying to comprehend what characters can be applied to it and how people respond to it. In Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963), she discusses the banality of evil as seen in the perpetrator and not the evil act in itself, by arguing that Eichmann willingly involved in the genocide against the Jews by the Nazi through failure or lack of sound thinking and poor judgment (Aschheim 2001, p.377). The perpetrator only committed the genocide against the Jews unthinkingly without considering the effect on the Jews and other minority groups who were targeted. This therefore means that evil only occurs when ordinary individuals are put into situations ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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