This highly original book explains the sweeping changes to twentieth-century regimes of manners and self. Broad in scope and deep in analytic reach, it provides a wealth of empirical evidence to demonstrate how changes in the code of manners and emotions in four countries (Germany, Netherlands, England and the US) have undergone increasing informalization. From the growing taboo toward the displays of superiority and inferiority and diminishing social and psychological distance between people, it reveals an 'emancipation of emotions' and the new representation of emotion at the centre of personality. This thought-provoking book traces:" The increasing permissiveness in public and private manners, such as introductions, the use of personal pronouns, social kissing, dancing, and dating " The ascent and integration of a wide variety of groups - including the working classes, women, youth and immigrants - and the sweeping changes this has imposed on relations of social inferiority and superiority" The shifts in self-regulation that require manners to seem 'natural', at ease and authentic " Rising external social constraints towards being reflexive, showing presence of mind, considerateness, role-taking, and the ability to tolerate and control conflicts, to compromise" Growing interdependence and social integration, declining power differences and the diminishing social and psychic distance between peopleContinuing the analysis of Sex and Manners, this book is a dazzling work of historical sociology and a fascinating read.

Manners: Theory and History

Manners: Theory and history

Changing Regimes of Manners and Emotions

Erasmus, the Dutch humanist, advised his readers in the sixteenth century not to spit on, or over, the table but underneath it. After that, spitting became ever more restricted until it was banned altogether. In the 1960s, most British buses still had ‘No Spitting’ signs but in the West, generally, even the very urge to spit has disappeared.

Medieval people blew their noses with their fingers. In 1885, the author of a German manners book warned his readers: ‘Beware not to clean your nose with anything but a handkerchief’ Evidently this had not yet become a general habit – fingers and sleeves or shirt also served the purpose, for he acknowledged ‘Indeed, courage and ...

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