chapter  10
18 Pages

Norbert Elias, the civilizing process and the sociology of international relations

Efforts to forge connections between historical sociology, world history and the study of long-term processes of change are at the forefront of current scholarship in International Relations (Buzan and Little 2000; Denemark et al. 2000; Hobden and Hobson 2002). Norbert Elias’s analysis of ‘the civilizing process’ – the process by which modern European societies have been pacified over approximately the last five centuries, and in which emotional identification between the members of each society has increased – has much to contribute to historical-sociological approaches to international relations. However, Elias’s writings have been largely neglected in the Anglo-American discipline,3 and there has been no detailed examination of the importance of his work for the sociology of long-term patterns of change in world politics.4