Thursday, October 16, 2003

I have always been interested in the full range of the social sciences (which is how at one time I came to be teaching both psychology and economics) and anthropology has always been part of that interest. In my student days, therefore, I thought I would make good use of the anthropologist’s most usual research method (participant observation) to study the topic I have always been interested in most -- politics. Anthropologists have the view that you can never understand a group “from the outside” -- You have to join the group and become accepted into it before you will ever have any chance of understanding it. I took this to heart and promptly joined a great range of political groups from the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society on one hand (Communist Front) to the local neo-Nazi group on the other. It was only the neo-Nazis, however, that I found much original to say about so I wrote up a total of three papers about them for publication in three Jewish social science journals. Today’s academic upload is one of the papers concerned. See here or here. In it, I address the usual Leftist theory that both conservatives and racists are prone to oversimplified thinking. I point out that, to the contrary, neo-Nazis are prone to very complex thinking -- since their view of the world is contradicted on every hand.


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