On Transformations of Aggressiveness Author(s): Norbert Elias Source: Theory and Society, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Mar., 1978), pp.
229-242 Published by: Springer Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/656698 Accessed: 08/07/2010 17:15
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Hence this essay is not a tight-fitting translation. am 1976).but the author's reconstruction his meaningin anotherlanguage. Though particular instinctual manifestationsmay be indicatedby different names accordingto their various directions and functions . Aya for the formulationand editorialarrangement the Englishtext.in life these are no more separablethan the heart from the stomach or the blood in the brain from blood in the genitals. who introducednumerouschanges(many of which depart from the Germanoriginal)to make the fimished versionconform to his present views. This draftwas then reviewed of and thoroughly revised by the author.we may speak of hunger and the urge to spit. 263-283. a partialtotality within the totality of the organism. Goudsblombeing mainly responsiblefor fidelity to the Germanmeanings. a disturbancehere makes itself felt there. vol. They complement and partly supersedeone another. The translationwas first preparedby Johan Goudsblomand Rod Aya. The way drives or emotional manifestations are talked about today sometimes seems to suggest that we harbora whole bundle of different instincts inside ourselves.
The affective structure of man is a whole. Detailed observations these different instinctualmanifestationsmay be extremely fruitful regarding and revealing. Thus they form a sort of circuit in a person. But the forms of thought in which these observationsare conceptualizedcannot but remain inadequateto the living object if they fail to express the unity of the instinctual economy (Triebhaushalt)and the way
* Translator's note: The presenttext is based on "UberWandlungen Angriffslust" der from Uber den Prozess der Zivilisation:Soziogenetische und psychogenetischeUntersuchungen(Basel:Hauszum Falken. Frankfurt Main:Suhrkamp. I. whose social stamp is in any case of decisivesignificancefor the dynamic of a particularsociety as much as for any individualwithin it. but whose form. 1939. of the sexual instinct and aggressive impulses .whose structure is still opaque in many ways. of ? 1978 by NorbertElias. transform themselves within certain limits and neutralize one another. pp. People speak of a "death instinct" or a "need for esteem" the way they do of various chemical substances.
like all other humandrives. Comparedwith the standards the modernage. are gradually"refined"and express pleasure.Therethe lust for battle. Measured against the battle fury of the Abyssinianwarriors. less subduedby feelings they of shameand revulsion.powerless as they were the against technical apparatus a "civilized"army .vanishfrom view and appearquite trivial if the belligerenceof "civilized"people is contrasted with that of societies at another stage of affect control. the social use of brute force.It is thus to some extent"refined. It is restricted and restrainedby an immense number of rules one andprohibitions partly transformedinto self-constraints.""sublimated. and onlyin dreams or occasional eruptions which we diagnoseas symptoms of does something of its immediate and unregulatedforce come into the illness open. that matter. in order to illuminate the overall pattern this development.is accordingly not a separable species of instinct. Thesame transformation can observedin the sphere of hostile collisions be betweenindividuals as in all other battlefields of the emotions. it may be enough to take as a point of departurethe standardsof thesecular upper classes. it was overt and of unrestrained enough. by the correspondinglystronger intertwining of inby dividuals. It is possible to speak of a drive to aggressiononly if one is aware that it refers to a certaininstinctualfunction in the whole of an organism. The dischargeof emotions in battle was perhaps of notquite so violent in the MiddleAges as in the earlierperiod of the Great Migrations. and that changes of this function indicate changesin the total patterningof the personalitystructureitself. delight in the killing and torture of like others.Aggressiveness.230
in which drives of every kind and direction inhere in this structure. But these differences.or that of tribes at the of timeof the GreatMigrations. in colonial territorieswhere social control is looser. belligerenceof even the most martialnations the inthe "civilized" worldappears subdued. is not entirely uniformtoday. their strongerdependencieson the technical apparatusand on another. which often seem considerablewhen viewed from closequarters.its tone and intensity. is directly bound even in war by the advanced state of the divisionof functions. Whatever within this processof transformation stage may be representedby the Middle Ages. is placed increasinglyunder strong social control vested in the organization of the State. that for break through in a more direct and overt form."and "civilized"like other forms of lust.
. themselves only indirectly. All these forms of restricted by punitive threats. Nowadays cruelty. the warriors. again. The level of belligerence (Kampflust).with which the following observationsare concerned. And it is only in times of social unheaval war and or. even among the nations of the West.
and sparedthe knights for whom one hoped to receiveit. the walls will collapse. the ensignsand bannersof variouscolors. to cut down his vines. Now we will see gold and silver spent. far more directly than most of our literature. storm his castle. And they express. These epics were an integral part of social life. And the
. ruin his land. And as Bertran de Born says in another passage: Here comes the happy season when our ships will land and King Richard will come. the shout "Get them!". means being strongerto get at the enemy. Mutilatingprisonersis a particularpleasure:"By my soul.or sleepingas in hearing men shout 'Get them!' from both sides." goes a battle hymn attributed to the troubadour Bertran de Born. tear up his trees.hearingthe cries 'Help! Help!'. the newly built catapults will do their utmost. drinking. They may exaggeratein detail." says the king in the same chanson. and the dead with their One only enjoyed life sides ripped open by the pennoned stumps of lances.all this formed part and parcel of everyday life. the towers fall and crumble. War.all this still gives us even in the form of a song an impressionof the primeval ferocity of feeling. Especially for the strongand powerful. the glimmering helmets cleaved. Even in the time of chivalry.the blows one gives and receives. "I tell you. drinking. fighting. correspondingto the structure of society.sleeping . If it was a sergeantor a merchant.eating. for whom no considerableransom was to be expected. "I don't care what you say. "that I find no such savor in eating. Ordinarily mutilated one only the poor and the humble. fill in his well. hearingthe neighing of horses that have lost their riders.it belonged to the joys of living. the feelings of the audience for whom they were intended. hunting men and animals . and in seeing men great and small go down on the grassbeyond the fosses. and the cries for help of the vanquished . gallant and courageouslike never before. the breaking lances. the tents and rich pavillionsset up in the open air. Every knight I've taken I've taunted and cut off his nose or his ears.231
In the Middle Ages social pressurewent in the opposite direction. I love the melee of shields colored blue and vermillion. I don't give a damn for your threats. the pierced shields. according to the explication of one of the chansons de geste. the neighing of horses that have lost their riders.he lost a foot or an arm.'"1 .enemies will get a taste of prison in chains. capture and kill his people. Robbing.money sometimes already had its affect-subduingand -transforming influence.with the tumult of war in view: the dead with their sides ripped open and the fatal lances."2 Such things were not only said in song.
Forthe working. example. that of the black monks of Sarlat. serving. in pillage. and the value-bias they contain is therefore often that of socially weaker people menacedby the warriorcaste. the very structure of society pressed in this direction. as "pathological" cases.but they would appear abnormal. there are 150 men and women to be found whose hands he's hacked off or whose eyes he's gouged out. and murder formed an integralpart of the behavior standard warriorsociety of that age.fighting hands of inferiorswere part of the wealth of the landowningwarriorclassesof that age.They were not socially stigmatized. She takes specialpleasurein torturingthe unfortunatewomen. all this servedto weaken the opponent.attacks on pilgrims. one restrainedoneself to a certain degree. and it wasa socially permitted delight.and the oppression of widows and orphans. In a single monastery. Eruptions of cruelty were not excludedfrom social intercourse. Save for a small elite.no one had the social power to punish such inclinations. and chopping down trees. And yet it was
. the only danger that could arouse fear. The stronger of affectivity behaviorwas to a certainextent socially necessary. makes clear.the historian of French society in the thirteenth century. destruction of churches." we readof a knight.robbery. But the others? To keep them meant to feed them. pillage.the most immediaterecordsof social life. As for prisonersof rankwho could pay.to behave in this manner. was to be done with prisoners? in this society. The only threat. for Money was of limited use What. His wife is just as cruel. as in Luchaire.filling in wells. and there is no reasonto believe that of things were different in other countries.and even seem appropriate.The same went for the destruction of fields. So prisonerswere killed or sent backso mutilated as to be unfit for work or militaryservice. They were written mostly by clerics.was that of being overwhelmed battle by someone more powerful. To return them meant to enhance the wealth and fighting power of the enemy.232
chronicles.3 Acting out affects such as these might still occur in later phases of social development.He takes special pleasurein mutilatinginnocents. In a predominantly agrariansociety. in which immovable property formed the mainpart of possession. But the picture they transmitis nonetheless quite authentic.One behaved in a socially expedient way and thereby found pleasure. are full of like examples. To a certain extent. She has had their breasts chopped off or their fingernailspulled out so as to make them unfit for work.makingit necessary. Joy in the torture and killing of others was great. "He spends his life. however. She helps him carry out his executions. In that epoch.
well into old age. even for those who had escaped the secularworld..but someone who is himself in service:
."S In the fifteenth century. His home was at once a watchtower. havingfallen into disfavor with the king. he still required at least the illusion of war: He fought in tournaments. he lived in it. and they show a kindred standardof behavior. Today's victor could tomorrow be vanquished.a base for attack and defense. Fearwas ubiquitous.and animal hunts or tournaments . as earlier in the ninth or thirteenth.a fortress. And so. this alternation between manhunts . in keeping with quick changes of fortune. a picture similar to reports of feudal societies in our time. he dictates his life history to a servant. by and large.little could be reckoned in advance: the future was almost always uncertain. times of war . by exception. Only small numbers of courtly elites. His life had no other function.233
wholly in keeping with the less stringent social regulationof instinctual life. In the middle of this constant to and fro. imprisoned.a little king in his own territory. The warriorof the MiddleAges not only loved battle. of whom more shallbe said later. In 1465. that this pleasure in annihilation sometimes turned into the most extreme charity owing to a sudden identification with the victims. war was the normal state. pleasure could suddenly change into fear. and surely also to feelings of guilt and anxiety produced by the constant threat of danger. the continuous disruptionof town and countryside by all sorts of dangerousrabble. "For society then. a knight still expresseshis joy in war. Whenhe grew up. No longer is it a free and independentknight who speaks. with the correspondingtastes and habits. His youth was committed to preparationfor battles. stood out by their somewhat different standards. and placed in extreme jeopardy. The reports this society left behind yield. The majority of the secularupper classes in the Middle Ages led the life of warlordsat the head of a wild soldiery.the amusements of peacetime .. the perpetualthreat of a harsh and unreliablejustice . If. nourished a feeling of generalizedinsecurity.namely. God and the loyalty of a few people firmly bound to each other were the only certainty. though it is a bit more restrainedand less unequivocal than before." says Luchaireof the thirteenth century.life was here and now.4 and Huizingaof the fourteenth and fifteenth: "The chronic form wars were apt to take.which were often little different from realbattles. The speakeris Jean de Bueil. and extreme fear just as suddenly into a rage of pleasure. he chanced to live in peace. he was knighted and waged war as long as his powers permittedhim.
the enemies'sfear .this was by no means always the case.the neighingof steeds. . These are quite simple and forceful feelings speaking here. One can quite frequently encounter an advice that does not agree with today's standardimageof the MiddleAges: Let thy life not be determinedby the thought of death. the form of life was determined by thoughts of death and the hereafter." which
. You love your comradeso in war. And out of that there arises such a delectation.Among the worldly upper classes. tears rise to your eye. and fights at his side. certainly. Rather.how nice it is to hear their cries for help -or their death .who surely did not have to be "pensive" againstthe cleric. "No courteous man should reprovejoy.234
It is a joyous thing. the enthusiasmfor fighting a good cause.the clangingof swords. battle lust serves as intoxication to overcome fear. and for love not to abandon him. Howeverfrequently moods and phases of this kind may have occurred in the life of every knight.he is so elated. For the clerical classes.how fine to see the dead lying with their bodies ripped open. One kills. at least for their spokesmen. Whenyou see that your quarrelis just and your blood is fighting well."7This is a rule of courtesy from a tale of the early thirteenth century. Do you think that a man who does that fears death? Not at all. One forgets where he is."8 These were the obvious sneersof the knight . Trulyhe is afraidof nothing. for he feels so strengthened. Love the joys of this life. he should love it always.Whatmore? There is abundant evidence that attitudes toward life and death among the secular upper classes of the MiddleAges by no means always accorded with those which prevailin books by the clericalclassesand which are quite often considered typical for the period. but no longer the immediate delight in manhunting.6 It is pleasure in war. It does not befit a young man that he be morose and pensive. that he does not know where he is. A great sweet feeling of loyalty and pity fills your heart on seeing your friend so valiantly exposing his body to execute and accomplish the command of our Creator. is war. gives oneself over completely to the struggle. from a somewhatlater time: "A young man ought to be merryand lead a joyous life." This by no means life-denyingattitude toward death finds especiallyearnest and explicit expression in some verses from the "Rules of Cato.sees one's friend fight..it is the solidaritywith friends. again and again we find evidence of a quite different attitude. Or. forgets death itself. who no doubt was more often "morose"and "pensive.And then you prepareto go and die or live with him. that he who has not tasted it is not fit to say what a delight it is.and. It is beautiful. more powerfully than before.
and their lives were imbued with the ideas and rituals of that tradition of faith. If you do. for example. Christianitywas also associatedin their minds with a very different scale of values from that of the clerics who wrote and read books. but one knows not when: death steals in furtivelylike a thief. but. torturingothers were less restrained
.of which they were proud. Wilduviirhtenden tot so muostu leben mit not. the knights felt themselvesto be strongly Christian.235
passed from generation to generation throughout the Middle Ages. He had to fight. But what follows is not the conclusion.
Or. For warriorsit had a considerablydifferent tone and tenor. Certainly. It did not keep them from tastingthe joys of the world. Not to fear death was a vital necessity for a knight. But be in good hope. so shall you live a life of misery.especiallyclearand beautiful:10 Manweiz wol daz der tot geschiht. Nevermore will you find joy. and partsbody and soul. the structure of this society and its tensions made it imperative:he had little choice. If you wish to live in fearof death. to their qualitiesof rank. was a vital necessity not only for the warriors. The insecurity of life is one of the basic themes that recurtime and againin these verses:9 Sint uns allen ist gegeben ein harte ungewissezleben Since we have all been given a hard. The life of townspeople was also interlacedwith large and petty feuds to a far greaterextent than it was in later times. For the individual. uncertainlife
it reads. Think thus of death and of the hereafter. Whoeverlets his life be determinedby thoughts of death has no more joy in life. Doch habe du guote zuoversiht vurhteden tot ze sere niht vurhtestuin ze sere du gewinnestvreudenie mere. weapon in hand. hatred. and here too aggressiveness. do not fear death so very much.
Nothing of the beyond. man weiz ab siner zuokunft niht: er kumt geslichenals ein diep und scheidet leide unde liep. But this constant preparednessfor combat. That belonged to their social function. and delight in than in subsequentphases.rather. One knows well that death occurs.nor did it stop them from killingand plunder. in keepingwith their different social and psychological situation.the knightly classes. in anotherpassage.
till traces of this careerof hatredand persecutionsdisappearfrom the records. artisans.Next he marries. Robbery. d'Escouchy is imprisoned. a completely different pictureemerges: Alderman. he appearsaccusedof counterfeiting seals.all these playedno less a role in the life of the urbanpopulationthan amongthe warrior caste itself. They harasseach other reciprocallywith lawsuits. condemned. It was worldly men. for 'exces et attemptaz.one of the many men of the fifteenth century to have written a chronicle. After this long feud ceases to be mentioned in the records.12
.1] That is one example out of many. combat. prevented from appealing. the city syndic. the fortunes of Mathieud'Escouchyfrom Picardy. and the life of these secular artistswas anythingbut edifying. Summonedbefore the Parlement of Paris himself. and more than once in heavy chains. provost of Ribemont.family vendettas .who executed these beautiful works. then. 'procureurdu roi' at Saint Quentin. Take. not to settle down to a quiet life. the well-known miniaturesfrom the Book of Hours of the Duc de Berry. it was completely different. tensions sharpenedin medievalsociety. In general.' The attempt of the provost to get the widow of his enemy condemned for witchcraft costs him dear. but then comes back maimed from a later campaign." says the editor.'forced into confessions by torture. Consider. And it was not by the weapon of money alone that the burghers rose. he is ennobled."For a long time it has been thought. others arise of similar violence. however. That is possiblein certaincases. pillage. always in grave criminal causes. for example. then rehabilitatedand again condemned. and a number of people are still convincedof it today. We find him again in prison as an accused on five more occasions. for another. He is taken prisonerat Montlhery.236
With the gradualrise of a third estate. that the miniatures of the fifteenth century were the creation of devout monks or pious nuns who worked in the peace of their cloisters. conducted to Paris 'comme larronet murdrier. of Peronne.for forgeryand murder. This chronicle might let us suppose him to have been a respectableman of letters devoting his talent to punctilious historical work. But if we try to find out something of his life from documentary evidence. All this does not check the career of d'Escouchy: he becomes a bailiff. A son of Froment wounds him in an encounter. Once more. towards 1445 provost. Each of the partieshires brigandsto assail the other. we find him from the outset engagedin a family quarrelwith Jean Froment.
hat makers... Northeast Brazilthroughthe nineteenthcenturyand into the twentieth.. the the then.as in everycountrywith a kindred (for instance the ScottishHighlands in the in through eighteenth century. bandswhichfollowedhim. a lettre de remission.Eventhe little people. with all possiblefearfulweapons which equipped the localtown authorities in va'm.14 innkeeper One accuses anotherof stealing clients.despite the fear of hell.thenone.13 Town governments soughtin vainto makepeacein thesefamilyfeuds. Theroturiers. burghers. another an abducts eight-year girlin orderto marry old the her. lead bloody feuds whichoften continuefor manyyearsand sometimes to battlesin publicplacesor in the countryside-and thisheldtrue real. daythey meet in a publicplace.with what brutalitypassionswere unleashed. luxury.the calledthe peoplebeforethem."It is well knownhow violentmoreswere until well into the fifteenth century.Yet murderer.it turnsinto a familywar. and as Thenobleman socialformation had. a whileit went well.237
wouldbe Againand againwe hear of acts which by presentdaystandards branded "crimes" render perpetrator as and the Two socially"impossible. despite the fellowship and gaiety of social 15 relations. they quarrel. withthe helpof his miniature of painters stabsthe otherin the street." accuseone another theft. All day long he is accompanied servants armedretainers and to by his the cannotaffordthis prosecute vendettas.and one strikesthe other dead.issuedcommagistrates mandsand ordinances. readyfor anything: . orderedcivilpeace.savage for merchants artisans wellas for knights.they becomemortalenemies. townsof Familyvendettas. against will of herparents. must requestan amnesty for him. For or an old one flaredup again. his One saysa few nastywordsaboutthe other. had the knife quicklyto hand. whentheyhaveto avenge and prohibit thesecitizens de guerre."
. namely a stateof feud. not onlyexistedamong noble-born.and in and to partsof Pakistan Afghanistan this day).then a newfeudbrokeout.. Theselettresde remission filledwithevidence are of naturally.Herearetwo partners get into a dispute who overa business the one matter.' often in largenumbers. conflictescalates.but they havetheir 'kinsmen friends. are in themselves. who needsthe kinsmen. shepherds-they all tailors.Andthe Ducde Berry. despitethe bridleof classdistinctions
and the feeling of chivalroushonor. the fifteenthcenturywere no less filledwith private warsbetweenfamilies and cliques. and who cometo theiraid.
with the solicitous protection the modern state bestows can upon each individual'sproperty and person. to conceal and "civilize"his affects. the country fell into provinces. in subsequent society. are in fact symptoms of the same social and personalitystructure.238
Not that people were always going around with somber faces. narrowed brows. by itself is never a "civilizing" or affect-subduing influence. These provincesin turn were again split up into a multitude of manors or fiefs. a small nation in itself which abhorredall others. the sudden flare-upand untamedforce of their hatred and aggressiveness alternatingwith the utmost kindness and . would be unable to bridle his passions.and. conversely.On the contrary.Only to us. Not only the great lords. exchange jokes and make fun of each other."16 scarcelyform an idea of this dissimilarsociety. the immense outbursts of joy and mirth.and the inhabitants of each province formed.might as well go into a monastery.for he was quite as lost in worldly life as one who. their atonement. "We. without overlong calculation for the future.The play of instincts and emotions was more spontaneous. then suddenly one word leading to another.all these extremes of hatred and love. violence and repenmagnanimity tance. In both instances. who did not hold his own in the interplay of passions. and especially at court. whose ownersnever ceased fightingeach other. Religion. And thus. because in this society emotions were expressed in a way we in our society can generally observe only among children. direct.we call their manifestationsand forms "childlike. so to speak. and martialairs as the outward symbols of their militaryprowess. but also the petty castellanslived in
. "with our pacific customs and habits. it is the structure of society that requires and fosters a specific standardof affect-control. they might be propelled from a jocular mood to the bitterest quarrel . for whom everything is more subdued. and unstable than at later stages of the civilizingprocess. In those days. and calculated. or the strength of this piety and the intensity of aggressiveness cruelty appear antithetical. Quite the contrary:religion is exactly as "civilized"as the human beings who practice it. one finds similar evidence: a life with an affect-structuredifferent from our own. they might drink together. embrace again as dear friends.and for whom social taboos are do built much more deeply into the fabricof instinctuallife as self-restraints. Much of what looks contradictory to us . their violent fear of hell. might after fighting and hurting one another. Whoeverdid not love or hate with full force in this society. their feelingsof guilt. the barons."as Luchairesays. the awareness of the punishing and reward-giving omnipotence of God. for all we know. an existence without security. moderate." Wherever one looks into the documents of this time.the intensity of their devotion.
and against an enemy who often enough remainsinvisible as well. emotions. This tableau helps make vivid somethingwhich has often been assertedin this work as a general proposition. in one or anotherregion. Even in these enclaves. between villages."their peers. Then the relative restraintand "considerationof people for one another" graduallyincreasesin everyday life. and largermassesonly in exceptional periods of military or revolutionaryconflict. had not direct physical combat between a man and his hated adversarybeen converted into a mechanized strugglethat requiresa rigorous regulationof affects. and all .the strengthof a central power happens to grow. or their subjects. goaded by the sight of the enemy.drives.which seemed to spring forth from the very multiplicity of territorialunits. rather. Moreover.but only a few who (like the police against outlaws) are licensed to use violence by the centralauthority.there was a constant rivalry between towns. and constant wars between neighbors. regardlessof his feelings. the nexus of social structure and personality structure. by order of leaderswho themselvesremaininvisible.And if. he must fight. the restraintand transformationof aggression fostered and made necessary by everyday life in such a society cannotjust be broken at will. perhaps. We have here a society with no central power strong enough to compel restraint.between valleys. then the patterningof the whole libidinal economy . change as well. Once physical violence has been monopolized by central powers.will. in socially legitimated struggle againstexternal or internalenemies. not just anyone who chances to be strong can enjoy the pleasureof physical aggression. affects.239
wild isolation and were incessantly engaged making war against their "sovereigns. And it requirestremendous social pressureand distress. quite gradually. people over a greateror smallerterritoryare compelled to live in peace with one another. But even these enclaves of licensed violence in societies at a different stage of a civilizing process which allow greater latitude for aggression.delight in killingand destruction. the individualcan seldom immediatelygive free rein to his lust for aggression.
. namely. Even at war in the civilized world at the presentstage. as well as a constant stream of consciously directed propaganda.or only indirectly visible. and the direct dischargeof emotions in physical aggression becomes confined to specific enclavesin time and space. Yet this might happenmore rapidlywe surmise.above all wars between nations .have become increasinglyimpersonalizedand lead less and less to affective dischargesas immediate and forceful as those of the medieval phase. rearouseand legitimateamong to large masses of people manifestationsof strongaffects that have been socially proscribedand repressedin everyday life .
A sixteenth-century example may illustrate." say. at boxing matches. these affects . or hates.have their legitimate and clearly circumscribed place even in the daily life of contemporary civilized society. Here we see one of those intertwinements(Verflechtungen) out of which another sense organ. "Childrenlove to touch with their hands clothes and other thingsthat please them. find socially permittedexpression for in the infighting of groups in society or. of pleasurable desires have been narrowed down by a great number of and prohibitions restraints.in "refined"and rationalizedform . loves. It is crucial for the development of books and theater. are allowed to act out such affects.just watchinga murder film. in the prescriptionsfor conditioning young people. for that matter. and decisive for the role of the cinema in our world. Battle lust and aggressiveness. there is a distinct trend toward moderationand the "humanization"of affects.and teach themto touch what they see only with their eyes. a acquires quite specific importancein civilized society. in a moderate and precisely regulated way.however different in detail the schemaof theirpatterningmay be in the variousnations of the modernworld."17 Sincethen. And this aspect is quite characteristic of the kind of transformation that accompanies the civilization of the affect-economy. for instance. Elsewhere has been shown how.The imposition of this kind of restraint contributes greatly to the entiremold of his or her gestures. in the course of a process. It has been picked out from a wide
. however. Evenwithin the scope of this displacement of libidinal urges from direct actionto watching.That it is denied him by sociogenetic self-constraint. Already in education.in the daydream-like identification with some few people who. example.boxing is (to mention only this instance) a thoroughly tempered embodiment of transformed propensities to aggression and cruelty. pleasurableaggression is transformedinto a more passiveand restrainedpleasurein spectating. Comparedwith the visual delights of past phases. comes to be restrictedas if it were something animalic.consequently into a mere visual enjoyment. Already in the 1774 edition of La Salle's Civiliteit says. This living out of affects in spectatingor. in competitive sports. is one of the most marked characteristics the "civilized" of person. this has become a standardprescription.use of the sense it of smell or the tendency to sniff at food and other things. the eye. it is necessaryto correctthis odious greed. to grab spontaneously something he desires. And they are manifest above all in "spectating. is particularlycharacteristicof this kind of civilizedsociety.240
Still. originally active. Even more than the it becomes the mediatorof pleasurepreciselybecausedirect satisfactions ear.
Now this spectacle is certainly no worse than burninghereticsor tortureand public executions of all sorts.once again demonstrates the transformationof the personalitystructure.At the same time it revealsanother aspect of this transformation with particular clarity: much of what once aroused pleasure arouses displeasuretoday. this is not simply a matter of individualsensations. In sixteenth-centuryParis. in our phase of civilization. unpleasurablefeelings that are socially generatedbattle with masked desire. the pleasures society affords itself are embodiments of a social standard of affectivity that encompasses all variationsof the affect-patterningof individuals. The repugnancetoward such enjoyments that the mere report of this institution arouses in us . an enormous fire was built. the simple psychological mechanismwhereby the transformation of people's emotional life is effected: socially undesirablemanifestationsof pleasure-seekingdrives are threatened and punished with measures that generate anxiety and Unlust. Under a sort of scaffolding. And we hear that once. This ceremony was widely renowned. part of the St. Burningcats on St. This is precisely because.and free of any ulterior aim or excuse. a fox was capturedand burnt along with the
cats. What has just been said refers to one of the mechanismseffecting this change.and which must pass for normal by present-daystandardsof affect-regulation . Now. John's day festivities consisted in burning one or two dozen cats alive. The people assembled.Sometimesthe king or the dauphinwas given the honor of lighting the pyre. obviously. for instance. by burning cats. at tne special requestof CharlesIX. In both cases.
. undisguised. Then a sack or basket full of cats was suspendedfrom the scaffold.And this is. and the cats fell into the fire and burned while the crowd rejoiced in their cries and mewing. John's day was a social institution like boxing matches or horse races in our contemporary society. the normalconditioningof people restrainsthe expressionof pleasurein such activity via the inculcation of anxiety as self-constraint.and whoever steps outside the bounds of that social standard is considered "abnormal" like. and festive music was played. It has been shown before from various aspects how in the course of a civilizing process the threshold of feelings of shame and revulsion advances. In that way. It seems worse only becauseit revealspleasure in the torment ofqiving beings that is so naked.241
range of others because it demonstratesa visual satisfaction of cruelty in which delight in torture is made manifestwith particular purity. Usually the king and court were present. as then. someone who wanted to satisfy his desire in a sixteenth-century manner. without any rationaljustification or disguiseas punishmentor means of discipline. The sack or basket began to glow.
15.p.. p. societe francaise temps dePhilippeAuguste..) (Retranslated preserve 6. Johan Huizinga. et 17. p. 30. Ibid. Ch. Der 9.
p. 167/8 and V. 29-30. 273. 1921). 3. 36f. 272. Huizinga. p. Dupin. V. Ibid. 1922). 10. Durrieu. V. Les regles de la bien-seance de la civilite chretienne(Rouen. of 12. 506f. p. p. 1908). 178/80. 1909).76. Ibid. p. 1852). 275. Ibid. 11. Ibid.
1. au 7. Amsterdam . 1774). pp. 1931). Ibid. 5.. 77. 395ff.. 5. Ibid. 162. Pariset les parisiensau seizieme siecle (Paris.La courtoisie moyenage (Paris. 47. 278f.. deutsche Cato (Leipzig. 18. Luchaire. 68. Luchaire. H.p. Zarncke. p. 23. A. 278. Franklin.p.Printed in the Netherlands
. p. 79. P. p.. p. 8. 4. Les tres belles Heures de Notre Dame de Duc Jean de Berry (Paris.La societe francaiseau temps de Philippe Auguste(Paris. Emphasis au La 16. Documents nouveaux sur les moeurs populaireset le droit de 13. p.. Petit-Dutaillis. p. vengeance 14. La Salle. For more.Waning the MiddleAges.
Theory and Society 5 (1978) 229-242 ? Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company. au dans lesPays-Bas XVe siecle(Paris. p.242 It remains to be considered more closely what were the changes in the overall structure of society with which this change in personality structure went handin hand.. Quotedibid. 2. of to emphasis.. 48. consult A. added. 1955).The Waning the MiddleAges (Harmondsworth.