Universally Applicable Criteria for Analysing Social and Psychic Processes: Nine Tension Balances, One Triad
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Until recently, discussion of the criteria relevant to studying civilising processes focused on self-controls mainly or, from a somewhat wider scope, on the balance of controls, that is, the balance between external social controls and internal ones, self-controls. Accordingly, the theory of civilising processes has been described as ‘the theory of increasing self-control’, as if ‘increasing self-control’ was its main criterion. The theory of civilising processes is not restricted to increasing self-controls, and Elias never uses just ‘increase’ or ‘decrease’ of self-controls as a criterion, but always uses subtler, more differentiated formulations, as for example: ‘Individuals are compelled to regulate their conduct in an increasingly differentiated, more even and more stable manner’ (Elias 2012a: 406).
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