Informalization: Manners and Emotions Since 1890

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SAGE Publications, Nov 19, 2007 - Social Science - 274 pages
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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 people

Continuing the analysis of Sex and Manners, this book is a dazzling work of historical sociology and a fascinating read.

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About the author (2007)

Cas Wouters is a senior lecturer at the Institute of General Social Sciences at Utrecht University.

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