¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 In retrospect, it is difficult to determine whether the negative image the Jews left behind in Stühlingen is the result of a structural cultural conflict, or whether it was caused by the Jews’ behaviour. It is clear that the Jews were not welcome in Stühlingen when they first arrived there at the end of the sixteenth century. They were permitted to settle for financial rather than compassionate reasons, and they were burdened correspondingly. The rulers, rather than the citizens themselves, benefited from accepting the Jews. Since the town boundaries of Stühlingen were fixed, new immigrants had to compete with the existing population for the limited housing space. Extant merchants and butchers resented the added competition; the townspeople may have welcomed a loan from the Jews when they needed it, but they resented the requirement to pay it back. The Catholic Church and the clergy, who set the social norms locally, were hostile to Jews for dogmatic reasons.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Whether, and to what degree, characteristics and behaviour of social groups are determined by nature or nurture has kept anthropologists and sociologists disputing for centuries. Émile Durkheim, one of the fathers of sociology, has introduced such terms as “anomie” and “alienation” to describe a state of social disengagement.2 The field is heavy in theories and light in quantitative, empiric evidence, but the following idea carries a fair degree of plausibility: when a group perceives the social contract as biased against them, group members may be less likely to voluntarily adhere to it. Observational studies from the fields of racial segregation and organizational behaviour lend some credibility to this hypothesis.3 However, in our population we also observe a certain disregard for intragroup norms, for example, in respect to trading in stolen goods. Thus, social deregulation seems to have been more diffuse rather than specific.
2See Olsen, “Durkheim’s Two Concepts of Anomie,”
3Bullough, “Alienation in the Ghetto,”; Zoghbi-Manrique-de-Lara and Melián-González, “The Role of Anomia,”