Neither ‘Collaborators’ Nor ‘Opponents’: Economic Actors Caught Up in Different Logics of Action and in Random Sequences

  • Béatrice Hibou
Part of the The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy book series (SPIRP)


All studies on the way major figures in capitalism have played a key role in running authoritarian or totalitarian regimes have postulated a certain intentionality. This chapter shows that it is simplistic to try to identify a specific decision made at a given time, a decision to submit, to ‘collaborate,’ to ‘participate’ in the major policies of a regime, or on the contrary to ‘oppose’ them. It is even impossible to describe the actors, in other words to define, for given individuals or groups of actors, a major project and a course of action, a clear vision and intentions. What we have here, rather, is a multiplicity of micro-decisions made over time, a variety of logics of action and endless possibilities of interactions that only rarely affect domination, but can make it assume unforeseen modes, unexpected shapes, giving significance to this or that initially neglected actor or, conversely, constraining the exercise of power by taking into account essential intermediaries. So it is difficult to speak of ‘collaborators’ or ‘opponents,’ as these ‘participations’ are often not conscious, and acts of ‘resistance’ are contingent. From this point of view, which decisively takes into account the element of contingency, domination cannot be regarded as a controlled exercise of power, of strategies or certain decisions, but as a process that is simultaneously uncertain, incomplete and partial, a process of multiple actions and various and concomitant understandings of reality.


Political Economy Grey Zone Totalitarian Regime Industrial Strategy Political Domination 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Turner, H.A. 1985. German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mason, T. 1969. The Primacy of Politics. Politics and Economics in National-Socialist Germany. In The Nature of Fascism, ed. S.J. Woolf. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kershaw. 2002. Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich, Bavaria, 1933–1945. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hayes, P. 1987. Industry and Ideology. IGFarben in the Nazi Era. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lindner, S.H. 2008. Inside IG Farben: Hoechst During the Third Reich. Trans. Helen Schoop. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hayes, P. 2005. From Cooperation to Complicity. Degussa in the Third Reich. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Feldman, G.D. 2001. Allianz and the German Insurance Business, 1933–1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Meinl, S. 2007. Stigmatisés, discriminés, pillés. Les lois fiscales antisémites dans l’Allemagne du IIIe Reich. Revue d’histoire de la Shoah 186: 109–129.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hayes, P. 2007. Les “aryanisations” de la Degussa AG. Histoire et bilan. Revue d’histoire de la Shoah 186: 70.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Traverso, E. 2016. Fire and Blood: The European Civil War 1914–1945. Trans. David Fernbach. Brooklyn: Verso.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Paxton, R. 2001. Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, 1940–1944. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sweets, J. 1996. Clermont-Ferrand à l’heure allemande. Paris: Plon.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Burin, P. 1995. La France à l’heure allemande, 1940–1944. Paris: Le Seuil.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gobe, E., and M.B. Ayari. 2007. Les avocats dans la Tunisie de Ben Ali: une profession politisée? L’Année du Maghreb: 105–132.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lüdtke, A., 1995. The History of Everyday Life: Reconstructing Historical Experiences and Ways of Life, ed. Alf Lüdtke. Trans. William Templer. Princeton/Chichester: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Abrevaya Stein, S. 2004. The Permeable Boundaries of Ottoman Jewry. In Boundaries and Belonging. States and Societies in the Struggle to Shape Identities and Local Practices, ed. J. Migdal, 49–70. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bayart, J.-F. 2005. The Illusion of Cultural Identity. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Jobard, F. 2004. L’ajustement et le hiatus. La prison allemande au cours de l’unification. In Gouverner et enfermer. La prison, un modèle indépassable? ed. P. Artières and P. Lascoumes, 83–110. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Levi, P. 1989. The Drowned and the Saved. Trans. Raymond Rosenthal; introduction by Paul Bailey. London: Abacus.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hilberg, R. 1995. Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe 1933–1945. London: Secker & Warburg.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Béatrice Hibou
    • 1
  1. 1.CERI-SciencesPoParisFrance

Personalised recommendations