Norbert Elias and the Sociology of Resentment
DOI link for Norbert Elias and the Sociology of Resentment
Norbert Elias and the Sociology of Resentment book
Interpretations of the sociology of Norbert Elias can too easily focus on the changing nature of manners, while neglecting the equally important aspects of his political sociology, namely the evolution of the state and the household. If there is a political sociology of the state in his work, there is equally, although more implicitly, a sociology of emotions. In The Civilizing Process, Elias traced the historical unfolding of European manners from an early warrior society through medieval feudalism, the court system, the bourgeois household, and ﬁ nally to the modern state.2 As he showed originally in The Court Society (1983), the history of courtesy cannot be understood without a history of the court.3 We can read his classic work as a history of the taming of violent, often destructive, emotions and the creation of societies that cherished restraint. In the English context, a gentleman did not express emotions, because overtly aggressive behavior was uncouth and vulgar.