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Civilizing Processes

The theory of civilizing processes was developed by Norbert Elias in the 1930s to describe and explain the generation of higher standards of various forms of conduct in the context of unplanned but structured changes in state formation and lengthening chains of social interdependencies. The idea of civilized conduct may seem a strange companion to popular understandings of consumer culture, when the latter phrase is often associated with hedonism, individualism, and excess. But consumer cultures do refer to the meanings, values, emotions, and practices surrounding the use of goods and services, including how people use their bodies through acts of consumption. Elias's book The Civilizing Process, originally published in 1939, examines changing expectations regarding eating, especially, but also other bodily practices, such as deportment and ...

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