• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This new edition of this classic text from one of the major figures of world sociology includes an introduction published in English for the first time. In Norbert Elias's hands, a local community study of tense relations between an established group and outsiders becomes a microcosm that illuminates a wide range of sociological configurations including racial, ethnic, class and gender relations. The Established and the Outsiders examines the mechanisms of stigmatization, taboo and gossip, monopolization of power, collective fantasy and `we' and `they' images which support and reinforce divisions in society. Developing aspects of Elias's thinking that relate his work to current sociological concerns, it presents the

Observations on Gossip
Observations on gossip

One of the gains of such a fairly intensive enquiry into a community divided against itself was a better insight into the nature and function of gossip. The “village” gossip about the Estate, as one saw, was based on a set belief about the Estate people which acted as a selecting agency: incidents on the Estate which did not fit the predetermined belief were of little interest to the “villagers;” one hardly thought it worth one's while to feed them into the gossip mills. Incidents which corresponded to the set image of the Estate were taken up with gusto and kept the gossip mills going for a while until they got stale and were replaced by fresh gossip items.

Gossip, in ...

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