Saturday, April 21, Norbert Elias — The Civilizing Process — Summary and Review - part 1 In his famous "The Civilizing Process" sociologist Norbert Elias presents his perception of western societies have socially constructed the individual's habitus. Though Elias in not a Marxist thinker, his position according to which reality shapes consciousness places him close to Marx. In "The Civilizing Process" Elias describes a prolonged process of structural changes in western society since the Middle Ages and up to modern times which center on changes in the division of labor and the consolidation of political authority and the monopolization of physical power.
He said that the world crisis was Civilization process humanity losing the ethical idea of civilization, "the sum total of all progress made by man in every sphere of action and from every point of view in so far as the progress helps towards the spiritual perfecting of individuals as the progress of all progress".
The abstract noun "civilization", meaning "civilized condition", came in the s, again from French. The first known use in French is inby Victor Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeauand the first use Civilization process English is attributed to Adam Fergusonwho in his Essay on the History of Civil Society wrote, "Not only the individual advances from infancy to manhood, but the species itself from rudeness to civilisation".
In the late s and early s, during the French Revolution"civilization" was used in the singularnever in the plural, and meant the progress of humanity as a whole. This is still the case in French. Already in the 18th century, civilization was not always seen as an improvement.
One historically important distinction between culture and civilization is from Civilization process writings of Rousseauparticularly his work about education, Emile. Here, civilization, being more rational and socially driven, is not fully in accord with human natureand "human wholeness is achievable only through the recovery of or approximation to an original prediscursive or prerational natural unity" see noble savage.
From this, a new approach was developed, especially in Germany, first by Johann Gottfried Herderand later by philosophers such as Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. This sees cultures as natural organisms, not defined by "conscious, rational, deliberative acts", but a kind of pre-rational "folk spirit".
Civilization, in contrast, though more rational and more successful in material progress, is unnatural and leads to "vices of social life" such as guile, hypocrisy, envy and avarice. Social scientists such as V. Gordon Childe have named a number of traits that distinguish a civilization from other kinds of society.
Andrew Nikiforuk argues that "civilizations relied on shackled human muscle. It took the energy of slaves to plant crops, clothe emperors, and build cities" and considers slavery to be a common feature of pre-modern civilizations.
It is possible but more difficult to accumulate horticultural production, and so civilizations based on horticultural gardening have been very rare. A surplus of food permits some people to do things besides produce food for a living: A surplus of food results in a division of labour and a more diverse range of human activity, a defining trait of civilizations.
However, in some places hunter-gatherers have had access to food surpluses, such as among some of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest and perhaps during the Mesolithic Natufian culture. It is possible that food surpluses and relatively large scale social organization and division of labour predates plant and animal domestication.
Compared with other societies, civilizations have a more complex political structure, namely the state. The ruling classnormally concentrated in the cities, has control over much of the surplus and exercises its will through the actions of a government or bureaucracy.
Morton Frieda conflict theorist and Elman Servicean integration theorist, have classified human cultures based on political systems and social inequality. This system of classification contains four categories  Hunter-gatherer bands, which are generally egalitarian.
Highly stratified structures, or chiefdomswith several inherited social classes: Civilizations, with complex social hierarchies and organized, institutional governments. Living in one place allows people to accumulate more personal possessions than nomadic people.
Some people also acquire landed propertyor private ownership of the land. Because a percentage of people in civilizations do not grow their own food, they must trade their goods and services for food in a market system, or receive food through the levy of tributeredistributive taxationtariffs or tithes from the food producing segment of the population.
Early human cultures functioned through a gift economy supplemented by limited barter systems. By the early Iron Agecontemporary civilizations developed money as a medium of exchange for increasingly complex transactions. In a village, the potter makes a pot for the brewer and the brewer compensates the potter by giving him a certain amount of beer.
In a city, the potter may need a new roof, the roofer may need new shoes, the cobbler may need new horseshoes, the blacksmith may need a new coat and the tanner may need a new pot. These people may not be personally acquainted with one another and their needs may not occur all at the same time.
A monetary system is a way of organizing these obligations to ensure that they are fulfilled. From the days of the earliest monetarized civilizations, monopolistic controls of monetary systems have benefited the social and political elites.
Writingdeveloped first by people in Sumeris considered a hallmark of civilization and "appears to accompany the rise of complex administrative bureaucracies or the conquest state".
Like money, writing was necessitated by the size of the population of a city and the complexity of its commerce among people who are not all personally acquainted with each other.
However, writing is not always necessary for civilization, as shown the Inca civilization of the Andes, which did not use writing at all except from a complex recording system consisting of cords and nodes instead: Aided by their division of labour and central government planning, civilizations have developed many other diverse cultural traits.
These include organized religiondevelopment in the artsand countless new advances in science and technology.Development of the term “Civilization” During the late 19th and early 20th centuries CE, it was widely believed among European scholars that all human communities were involved in a process of straightforward progression by which the conditions of a society were gradually improving.
The Civilizing Process is a mis-mash of material. The first half is entitled "The History of Manners" and is of some use, should one want to know how blowing one's nose affected civilization. But the second half of the book is discursive to the extreme.4/5(15).
the act or process of civilizing, as by bringing out of a savage, uneducated, or unrefined state, or of being civilized: Rome's civilization of barbaric tribes was admirable.; cultural refinement; refinement of thought and cultural appreciation: The letters of Madame de Sévigné reveal her wit and civilization.
cities or populated areas in general, as . the civilizing process has been both acclaimed and criticized. In the critiques, four inter-related objections stand out. It is said long-term psychical process of civilization in Western Europe, and (b) laying the foundation of a general theory of social processes.
A civilization or civilisation (see English spelling differences) is any complex society characterized by urban development, culminating in the relatively rapid process of urban revolution and state formation, a political development associated with the appearance of a governing elite.
The Civilizing Process stands out as Norbert Elias' greatest work, tracing the 'civilizing' of manners and personality in Western Europe since the Middle Ages, and showing how this was related to the formation of states and the monopolization of power within them.