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NORBERT ELIAS (1897-1990) was one of the greatest sociologists of the twentieth century. He studied in Breslau and Heidelberg and served as Karl Mannheim's assistant in Frankfurt. In exile after 1933, first in France and then in Britain, he wrote his magnum opus On the Process of Civilisation. His whole oeuvre is now appearing in new scholarly editions in the Collected Works in English. Stephen Mennell is Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University College Dublin, a member of the Board of the Norbert Elias Foundation, Amsterdam, and General Editor of the Collected Works; Eric Dunning is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Leicester.
Studies on the Germans, Volume 11 of the Collected Works, was first published in German in 1989, exactly 50 years after Elias' most famous work, On the Process of Civilisation. The essays in the book were written independently of each other over three decades. In this new edition, Elias' original English text of the extremely important essay 'The breakdown of civilisation' is published for the first time. Other essays include those on duelling and its wider social significance, as well as on nationalism, civilisation and violence, and post-war terrorism in the Federal Republic of Germany. All the essays have been newly annotated by the editors, especially to make clear many historical references that Elias, unrealistically, assumed his readers would understand without further explanation.
Norbert Elias, 1897-1990
Note on the text
Civilisation and informalisation
- changes in European standards of behaviour in the twentieth century
Honour, duelling and membership of the imperial ruling class
- being judged worthy to give satisfaction
A digression on nationalism
Civilisation and violence
- on the state's monopoly of physical force and its breaking
The breakdown of civilisation
Terrorism in the Federal Republic of Germany
- expression of a conflict between generations
Thoughts on the Federal Republic
- I The German aristocratic code and 'proof by ancestry'
II On the interpretation of Mozart's scatological remarks
III Why I began to study the problem of 'civilisation'
IV On the relative independence of the high nobility from the imperial court
V Sieyes, the Third Estate, and changing feelings of identity
VI Machiavelli's policy prescriptions
VII Nationalism and middle-class morality in Victorian Britain
VIII Conflicts trigger aggression
IX On the ethos of the Wilhelmine bourgeoisie
X Pro-war literature during the Weimar Republic (Ernst Junger)
XI On the character of conflicts in the early Weimar Republic
XII Conditions for the attainment of the domestic and foreign goals of the old elite
XIII The decay of the state monopoly of force in the Weimar Republic
XIV The stab in the back
XV Lucifer upon the ruins of the world
XVI The meaning of the word Reich - excerpt from the Fischerlexikon
XVII An empire dies
XVIII The awareness of powerlessness - note added in 1984
XIX Marxism and terrorism
- a terrorist's explanation
XX George Orwell, 'England Your England'