By Dennis Smith
Delivering a desirable survey of Elias's existence and writings, Dennis Smith strains the expansion of his recognition. he's the 1st writer to confront Elias's paintings with the contrasting theories of Talcott Parsons, Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault and Zygmunt Bauman. He additionally illustrates how Elias's insights might be utilized to appreciate Western modernity and social and political switch. Smith exhibits why Elias is critical for sociology, yet he's additionally transparent sighted concerning the obstacles of Elias's technique.
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Extra resources for Norbert Elias and Modern Social Theory (Theory, Culture & Society)
It was very dif®cult to buy your way in. This situation had a very important consequence. This was that polite culture and the civilized This SAGE ebook is copyright and is supplied by NetLibrary. Unauthorised distribution forbidden. CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION 37 habitus that went with it could not be smoothly transmitted from the established aristocratic class to wealthy bourgeois outsiders. The German bourgeoisie was an isolated class without social poise or political con®dence. When the German state uni®ed in the mid-nineteenth century this happened through a series of wars carried out by a militaristic aristocracy.
Unauthorised distribution forbidden. CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION 33 his class and his inherited culture. How could Elias have avoided wishing to know the answers to two questions: why had `Kantian' values, the philosophy of homo clausus, taken root so strongly in German Kultur, the culture of the German bourgeoisie? What part did that social class and that world view play in the violent disintegration of the German nation-state after World War I? It is interesting to notice that another German textile manufacturer's son, Friedrich Engels, had been faced with a broadly similar intellectual challenge eighty years before.
This was the sociology department at Leicester University. Elias held a lecturing post there between 1954 and 1962, the year of his of®cial retirement, and stayed This SAGE ebook is copyright and is supplied by NetLibrary. Unauthorised distribution forbidden. 12 In those days the department was a kind of court society, one whose department head, Ilya Neustadt, was deeply familiar with and sympathetic to the European Jewish background from which Elias came. Neustadt, originally from Odessa, was an expert on the work of Auguste Comte and well versed in French culture.