Abram de Swaan is a professor emiritus of Social Science at the University of Amsterdam and has been involved with the Amsterdam School of Social Science Research since its foundation in 1987. He has been an editor of the general cultural review De Gids from 1969 to 1991 and has been writing a weekly column to the national daily NRC/Handelsblad for many years. In 2008 de Swaan received the national award for literature, the P.C Hooft prize, for his entire oeuvre. In early 2014 de Swaan published Compartimenten van vernietiging (‘The Killing Compartments: On genocidal regimes and their perpetrators’). His book contains an extensive overview of the campaigns of mass murder in the 20th century. He contests the ‘banality of evil’ of Hannah Arendt and calls for an alternative interpretation of the Milgram experiment.