Nachman Ben-Yehuda

Nachman Ben-Yehuda

Distinguished Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy


A graduate of the University of Chicago, Nachman Ben-Yehuda’s work has focused on unconventional behaviour from Durkheimian and constructionist perspectives. His work raises the age-old Hobbesian question “how is the social order possible?” by focusing on the Hegelian concept of antithesis. This general plot is occasioned by directing attention to how, why, where and when challenges to the status quo emerge and function as catalysts for processes of social change or stability. By examining that which is considered as “deviant,” we gain insightful understandings into the nature of the non-deviant social order and of cultures. His papers and books focused on betrayal and treason, the Masada myth, political assassinations, politics and deviance, the European witch craze, deviant sciences and scientists, the use of archaeology for national purposes and (with Erich Goode) on moral panics. His recent books focused on unconventional behaviour amongst fundamentalists (Theocratic Democracy which won an international award from the American Society of Criminology),  on the culture of submarine warfare in world wars and (with Amalya Oliver-Lumerman) on fraud in research. Ben-Yehuda won a 2017 Law and Society Association International Award for significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the field of law and society.

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