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Hitler's GeographiesThe Spatialities of the Third Reich$
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Paolo Giaccaria and Claudio Minca

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226274423

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226274560.001.0001

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National Socialism and the Politics of Calculation

National Socialism and the Politics of Calculation

(p.161) 7 National Socialism and the Politics of Calculation
Hitler's Geographies

Stuart Elden

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the way in which mathematics and politics intertwined in National Socialist Germany, particularly in relation to the period between 1933 and 1939. As Heidegger’s critical writings on the regime showed, one of the particular issues was the way in which what he calls machination and later technology depended upon a particular notion of metaphysics, a particular casting of being, that is, to be is to be calculable. Nazism seeks control of the earth in a way that both makes possible and exceeds its quest for world domination. Following a discussion of the notion of Gleichschaltung— synchronization or political co-ordination—and its ontological underpinnings, the reading moves to two key examples: the calculation of race in the Nuremburg laws; and the calculation of space in geopolitics. These come together in the racialized notion of Lebensraum. Although this paper takes its point of departure from Heidegger, it focuses on the historical period at hand in order to illuminate both a particular instance of the politics of calculation, and a calculative understanding of the political.

Keywords:   Martin Heidegger, Gleichschaltung, Lebensraum, calculation, modernity

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