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On Transformations of Aggressiveness Author(s): Norbert Elias Source: Theory and Society, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Mar., 1978), pp.

229-242 Published by: Springer Stable URL: Accessed: 01/10/2009 21:27
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The affective structure of man is a whole. Though particular instinctual manifestationsmay be indicatedby different names accordingto their various directions and functions - we may speak of hunger and the urge to spit, of the sexual instinct and aggressive impulses - in life these are no more separablethan the heart from the stomach or the blood in the brain from blood in the genitals. They complement and partly supersedeone another, transform themselves within certain limits and neutralize one another; a disturbancehere makes itself felt there. Thus they form a sort of circuit in a person, a partialtotality within the totality of the organism,whose structure is still opaque in many ways, but whose form, whose social stamp is in any case of decisivesignificancefor the dynamic of a particularsociety as much as for any individualwithin it. The way drives or emotional manifestations are talked about today sometimes seems to suggest that we harbora whole bundle of different instincts inside ourselves. People speak of a "death instinct" or a "need for esteem" the way they do of various chemical substances. Detailed observations these different instinctualmanifestationsmay be extremely fruitful regarding and revealing. But the forms of thought in which these observationsare conceptualizedcannot but remain inadequateto the living object if they fail to express the unity of the instinctual economy (Triebhaushalt)and the way

* Translator's note: The presenttext is based on "UberWandlungen Angriffslust" der from Uber den Prozess der Zivilisation:Soziogenetische und psychogenetischeUntersuchungen(Basel:Hauszum Falken, 1939; Frankfurt Main:Suhrkamp, am 1976), vol. I, pp. 263-283. The translationwas first preparedby Johan Goudsblomand Rod Aya, Goudsblombeing mainly responsiblefor fidelity to the Germanmeanings, Aya for the formulationand editorialarrangement the Englishtext. This draftwas then reviewed of and thoroughly revised by the author, who introducednumerouschanges(many of which depart from the Germanoriginal)to make the fimished versionconform to his present views. Hence this essay is not a tight-fitting translation,but the author's reconstruction his meaningin anotherlanguage. of ? 1978 by NorbertElias.


in which drives of every kind and direction inhere in this structure.Aggressiveness,with which the following observationsare concerned,is accordingly not a separable species of instinct. It is possible to speak of a drive to aggressiononly if one is aware that it refers to a certaininstinctualfunction in the whole of an organism, and that changes of this function indicate changesin the total patterningof the personalitystructureitself. The level of belligerence (Kampflust),its tone and intensity, is not entirely uniformtoday, even among the nations of the West. But these differences, which often seem considerablewhen viewed from closequarters,vanishfrom view and appearquite trivial if the belligerenceof "civilized"people is contrasted with that of societies at another stage of affect control. Measured against the battle fury of the Abyssinianwarriors- powerless as they were the against technical apparatus a "civilized"army - or that of tribes at the of timeof the GreatMigrations, belligerenceof even the most martialnations the inthe "civilized" worldappears subdued.Therethe lust for battle, like all other humandrives, is directly bound even in war by the advanced state of the divisionof functions, by the correspondinglystronger intertwining of inby dividuals, their strongerdependencieson the technical apparatusand on another. It is restricted and restrainedby an immense number of rules one andprohibitions partly transformedinto self-constraints.It is thus to some extent"refined,""sublimated,"and "civilized"like other forms of lust, and onlyin dreams or occasional eruptions which we diagnoseas symptoms of does something of its immediate and unregulatedforce come into the illness open. Thesame transformation can observedin the sphere of hostile collisions be betweenindividuals as in all other battlefields of the emotions. Whatever within this processof transformation stage may be representedby the Middle Ages, again, it may be enough to take as a point of departurethe standardsof thesecular upper classes, the warriors, in order to illuminate the overall pattern this development. The dischargeof emotions in battle was perhaps of notquite so violent in the MiddleAges as in the earlierperiod of the Great Migrations. Comparedwith the standards the modernage, it was overt and of unrestrained enough. Nowadays cruelty, delight in the killing and torture of like others, the social use of brute force, is placed increasinglyunder strong social control vested in the organization of the State. All these forms of restricted by punitive threats, are gradually"refined"and express pleasure, themselves only indirectly. And it is only in times of social unheaval war and or, that matter, in colonial territorieswhere social control is looser, that for break through in a more direct and overt form, less subduedby feelings they of shameand revulsion.


In the Middle Ages social pressurewent in the opposite direction. Robbing, fighting, hunting men and animals - all this formed part and parcel of everyday life, correspondingto the structure of society. Especially for the strongand powerful,it belonged to the joys of living. "I tell you," goes a battle hymn attributed to the troubadour Bertran de Born, "that I find no such savor in eating, drinking,or sleepingas in hearing men shout 'Get them!' from both sides, hearingthe neighing of horses that have lost their riders,hearingthe cries 'Help! Help!', and in seeing men great and small go down on the grassbeyond the fosses, and the dead with their One only enjoyed life sides ripped open by the pennoned stumps of lances.'"1 - eating, drinking,sleeping - with the tumult of war in view: the dead with their sides ripped open and the fatal lances, the neighing of horses that have lost their riders, the shout "Get them!", and the cries for help of the vanquished - all this still gives us even in the form of a song an impressionof the primeval ferocity of feeling. And as Bertran de Born says in another passage: Here comes the happy season when our ships will land and King Richard will come, gallant and courageouslike never before. Now we will see gold and silver spent; the newly built catapults will do their utmost; the walls will collapse, the towers fall and crumble;enemies will get a taste of prison in chains. I love the melee of shields colored blue and vermillion, the ensignsand bannersof variouscolors, the tents and rich pavillionsset up in the open air, the breaking lances, the pierced shields, the glimmering helmets cleaved,the blows one gives and receives. War, according to the explication of one of the chansons de geste, means being strongerto get at the enemy, to cut down his vines, tear up his trees, ruin his land, storm his castle, fill in his well, capture and kill his people. Mutilatingprisonersis a particularpleasure:"By my soul," says the king in the same chanson, "I don't care what you say, I don't give a damn for your threats. Every knight I've taken I've taunted and cut off his nose or his ears. If it was a sergeantor a merchant,he lost a foot or an arm."2 Such things were not only said in song. These epics were an integral part of social life. And they express, far more directly than most of our literature, the feelings of the audience for whom they were intended. They may exaggeratein detail. Even in the time of chivalry,money sometimes already had its affect-subduingand -transforming influence. Ordinarily mutilated one only the poor and the humble, for whom no considerableransom was to be expected, and sparedthe knights for whom one hoped to receiveit. And the


chronicles,the most immediaterecordsof social life, are full of like examples. They were written mostly by clerics, and the value-bias they contain is therefore often that of socially weaker people menacedby the warriorcaste. But the picture they transmitis nonetheless quite authentic. "He spends his life," we readof a knight, in pillage, destruction of churches,attacks on pilgrims,and the oppression of widows and orphans.He takes special pleasurein mutilatinginnocents. In a single monastery, that of the black monks of Sarlat, there are 150 men and women to be found whose hands he's hacked off or whose eyes he's gouged out. His wife is just as cruel. She helps him carry out his executions. She takes specialpleasurein torturingthe unfortunatewomen. She has had their breasts chopped off or their fingernailspulled out so as to make them unfit for work.3 Acting out affects such as these might still occur in later phases of social development,but they would appear abnormal, as "pathological" cases. In that epoch, however,no one had the social power to punish such inclinations. The only threat, the only danger that could arouse fear,was that of being overwhelmed battle by someone more powerful. Save for a small elite, as in Luchaire,the historian of French society in the thirteenth century, makes clear,robbery, pillage, and murder formed an integralpart of the behavior standard warriorsociety of that age, and there is no reasonto believe that of things were different in other countries. Eruptions of cruelty were not excludedfrom social intercourse.They were not socially stigmatized. Joy in the torture and killing of others was great, and it wasa socially permitted delight. To a certain extent, the very structure of society pressed in this direction,makingit necessary,and even seem appropriate,to behave in this manner. for Money was of limited use What, example, was to be done with prisoners? in this society. As for prisonersof rankwho could pay, one restrainedoneself to a certain degree. But the others? To keep them meant to feed them. To return them meant to enhance the wealth and fighting power of the enemy. Forthe working, serving,fighting hands of inferiorswere part of the wealth of the landowningwarriorclassesof that age. So prisonerswere killed or sent backso mutilated as to be unfit for work or militaryservice.The same went for the destruction of fields,filling in wells, and chopping down trees. In a predominantly agrariansociety, in which immovable property formed the mainpart of possession, all this servedto weaken the opponent. The stronger of affectivity behaviorwas to a certainextent socially necessary.One behaved in a socially expedient way and thereby found pleasure. And yet it was


wholly in keeping with the less stringent social regulationof instinctual life, that this pleasure in annihilation sometimes turned into the most extreme charity owing to a sudden identification with the victims, and surely also to feelings of guilt and anxiety produced by the constant threat of danger. Today's victor could tomorrow be vanquished, imprisoned, and placed in extreme jeopardy. In the middle of this constant to and fro, this alternation between manhunts - namely, times of war - and animal hunts or tournaments - the amusements of peacetime - little could be reckoned in advance: the future was almost always uncertain, even for those who had escaped the secularworld; God and the loyalty of a few people firmly bound to each other were the only certainty. Fearwas ubiquitous;life was here and now. And so, in keeping with quick changes of fortune, pleasure could suddenly change into fear, and extreme fear just as suddenly into a rage of pleasure. The majority of the secularupper classes in the Middle Ages led the life of warlordsat the head of a wild soldiery, with the correspondingtastes and habits. The reports this society left behind yield, by and large, a picture similar to reports of feudal societies in our time, and they show a kindred standardof behavior. Only small numbers of courtly elites, of whom more shallbe said later, stood out by their somewhat different standards. The warriorof the MiddleAges not only loved battle, he lived in it. His youth was committed to preparationfor battles. Whenhe grew up, he was knighted and waged war as long as his powers permittedhim, well into old age. His life had no other function. His home was at once a watchtower,a fortress,a base for attack and defense. If, by exception, he chanced to live in peace, he still required at least the illusion of war: He fought in tournaments,which were often little different from realbattles. "For society then, war was the normal state," says Luchaireof the thirteenth century,4 and Huizingaof the fourteenth and fifteenth: "The chronic form wars were apt to take, the continuous disruptionof town and countryside by all sorts of dangerousrabble, the perpetualthreat of a harsh and unreliablejustice ... nourished a feeling of generalizedinsecurity."S In the fifteenth century, as earlier in the ninth or thirteenth, a knight still expresseshis joy in war, though it is a bit more restrainedand less unequivocal than before. The speakeris Jean de Bueil. In 1465, havingfallen into disfavor with the king, he dictates his life history to a servant. No longer is it a free and independentknight who speaks,a little king in his own territory,but someone who is himself in service:


It is a joyous thing, is war. .. You love your comradeso in war. Whenyou see that your quarrelis just and your blood is fighting well, tears rise to your eye. A great sweet feeling of loyalty and pity fills your heart on seeing your friend so valiantly exposing his body to execute and accomplish the command of our Creator.And then you prepareto go and die or live with him, and for love not to abandon him. And out of that there arises such a delectation, that he who has not tasted it is not fit to say what a delight it is. Do you think that a man who does that fears death? Not at all; for he feels so strengthened,he is so elated, that he does not know where he is. Trulyhe is afraidof nothing.6 It is pleasure in war, certainly, but no longer the immediate delight in manhunting,the clangingof swords,the neighingof steeds, the enemies'sfear - how nice it is to hear their cries for help -or their death - how fine to see the dead lying with their bodies ripped open. Rather,it is the solidaritywith friends, the enthusiasmfor fighting a good cause;and, more powerfully than before, battle lust serves as intoxication to overcome fear. These are quite simple and forceful feelings speaking here. One kills, gives oneself over completely to the struggle,sees one's friend fight, and fights at his side. One forgets where he is, forgets death itself. It is beautiful.Whatmore? There is abundant evidence that attitudes toward life and death among the secular upper classes of the MiddleAges by no means always accorded with those which prevailin books by the clericalclassesand which are quite often considered typical for the period. For the clerical classes, at least for their spokesmen, the form of life was determined by thoughts of death and the hereafter.Among the worldly upper classes,this was by no means always the case. Howeverfrequently moods and phases of this kind may have occurred in the life of every knight, again and again we find evidence of a quite different attitude. One can quite frequently encounter an advice that does not agree with today's standardimageof the MiddleAges: Let thy life not be determinedby the thought of death. Love the joys of this life. "No courteous man should reprovejoy; he should love it always."7This is a rule of courtesy from a tale of the early thirteenth century. Or, from a somewhatlater time: "A young man ought to be merryand lead a joyous life. It does not befit a young man that he be morose and pensive."8 These were the obvious sneersof the knight - who surely did not have to be "pensive" againstthe cleric, who no doubt was more often "morose"and "pensive." This by no means life-denyingattitude toward death finds especiallyearnest and explicit expression in some verses from the "Rules of Cato," which


passed from generation to generation throughout the Middle Ages. The insecurity of life is one of the basic themes that recurtime and againin these verses:9 Sint uns allen ist gegeben ein harte ungewissezleben Since we have all been given a hard, uncertainlife

it reads, for example. But what follows is not the conclusion, Think thus of death and of the hereafter;rather, Wilduviirhtenden tot so muostu leben mit not. If you wish to live in fearof death, so shall you live a life of misery.

Or, in anotherpassage,especiallyclearand beautiful:10 Manweiz wol daz der tot geschiht, man weiz ab siner zuokunft niht: er kumt geslichenals ein diep und scheidet leide unde liep. Doch habe du guote zuoversiht vurhteden tot ze sere niht vurhtestuin ze sere du gewinnestvreudenie mere. One knows well that death occurs, but one knows not when: death steals in furtivelylike a thief, and partsbody and soul. But be in good hope; do not fear death so very much. If you do, Nevermore will you find joy.

Nothing of the beyond. Whoeverlets his life be determinedby thoughts of death has no more joy in life. Certainly, the knights felt themselvesto be strongly Christian,and their lives were imbued with the ideas and rituals of that tradition of faith; but, in keepingwith their different social and psychological situation, Christianitywas also associatedin their minds with a very different scale of values from that of the clerics who wrote and read books. For warriorsit had a considerablydifferent tone and tenor. It did not keep them from tastingthe joys of the world;nor did it stop them from killingand plunder. That belonged to their social function, to their qualitiesof rank,of which they were proud. Not to fear death was a vital necessity for a knight. He had to fight. For the individual, the structure of this society and its tensions made it imperative:he had little choice. But this constant preparednessfor combat, weapon in hand, was a vital necessity not only for the warriors,the knightly classes. The life of townspeople was also interlacedwith large and petty feuds to a far greaterextent than it was in later times; and here too aggressiveness, hatred, and delight in than in subsequentphases. torturingothers were less restrained


With the gradualrise of a third estate, tensions sharpenedin medievalsociety. And it was not by the weapon of money alone that the burghers rose. Robbery, combat, pillage,family vendettas - all these playedno less a role in the life of the urbanpopulationthan amongthe warrior caste itself. Take, for example, the fortunes of Mathieud'Escouchyfrom Picardy,one of the many men of the fifteenth century to have written a chronicle. This chronicle might let us suppose him to have been a respectableman of letters devoting his talent to punctilious historical work. But if we try to find out something of his life from documentary evidence, a completely different pictureemerges: Alderman, then, towards 1445 provost, of Peronne, we find him from the outset engagedin a family quarrelwith Jean Froment, the city syndic. They harasseach other reciprocallywith lawsuits,for forgeryand murder, for 'exces et attemptaz.' The attempt of the provost to get the widow of his enemy condemned for witchcraft costs him dear. Summonedbefore the Parlement of Paris himself, d'Escouchy is imprisoned. We find him again in prison as an accused on five more occasions, always in grave criminal causes, and more than once in heavy chains. A son of Froment wounds him in an encounter. Each of the partieshires brigandsto assail the other. After this long feud ceases to be mentioned in the records, others arise of similar violence. All this does not check the career of d'Escouchy: he becomes a bailiff, provost of Ribemont, 'procureurdu roi' at Saint Quentin; he is ennobled. He is taken prisonerat Montlhery, but then comes back maimed from a later campaign.Next he marries, not to settle down to a quiet life. Once more, he appearsaccusedof counterfeiting seals, conducted to Paris 'comme larronet murdrier,'forced into confessions by torture, prevented from appealing, condemned; then rehabilitatedand again condemned, till traces of this careerof hatredand persecutionsdisappearfrom the records.1] That is one example out of many. Consider, for another, the well-known miniaturesfrom the Book of Hours of the Duc de Berry."For a long time it has been thought," says the editor, and a number of people are still convincedof it today, that the miniatures of the fifteenth century were the creation of devout monks or pious nuns who worked in the peace of their cloisters. That is possiblein certaincases. In general, however, it was completely different. It was worldly men, artisans,who executed these beautiful works, and the life of these secular artistswas anythingbut edifying.12


wouldbe Againand againwe hear of acts which by presentdaystandards branded "crimes" render perpetrator as and the Two socially"impossible." accuseone another theft;thenone, withthe helpof his miniature of painters stabsthe otherin the street.Andthe Ducde Berry, who needsthe kinsmen, must requestan amnesty for him, a lettre de remission.Yet murderer, another an abducts eight-year girlin orderto marry old the her, against will of herparents, Theselettresde remission filledwithevidence are of naturally. lead bloody feuds whichoften continuefor manyyearsand sometimes to battlesin publicplacesor in the countryside-and thisheldtrue real,savage for merchants artisans wellas for knights. and as Thenobleman socialformation had,as in everycountrywith a kindred (for instance the ScottishHighlands in the in through eighteenth century, Northeast Brazilthroughthe nineteenthcenturyand into the twentieth,and in and to partsof Pakistan Afghanistan this day), bandswhichfollowedhim, readyfor anything: ... All day long he is accompanied servants armedretainers and to by his the cannotaffordthis prosecute vendettas... Theroturiers, burghers, and who cometo theiraid, luxury,but they havetheir 'kinsmen friends,' often in largenumbers, with all possiblefearfulweapons which equipped the localtown authorities in va'm; whentheyhaveto avenge and prohibit thesecitizens de guerre, are in themselves, namely a stateof feud.13 Town governments soughtin vainto makepeacein thesefamilyfeuds;the calledthe peoplebeforethem, orderedcivilpeace,issuedcommagistrates mandsand ordinances. a whileit went well;then a newfeudbrokeout, For or an old one flaredup again.Herearetwo partners get into a dispute who overa business the one matter; they quarrel; conflictescalates; daythey meet in a publicplace,and one strikesthe other dead.14 innkeeper One accuses anotherof stealing clients;they becomemortalenemies. his One saysa few nastywordsaboutthe other;it turnsinto a familywar. the the then, not onlyexistedamong noble-born; townsof Familyvendettas, the fifteenthcenturywere no less filledwith private warsbetweenfamilies and cliques.Eventhe little people- hat makers, shepherds-they all tailors, had the knife quicklyto hand."It is well knownhow violentmoreswere until well into the fifteenth century,with what brutalitypassionswere unleashed- despite the fear of hell, despitethe bridleof classdistinctions
and the feeling of chivalroushonor, despite the fellowship and gaiety of social 15 relations."


Not that people were always going around with somber faces, narrowed brows, and martialairs as the outward symbols of their militaryprowess.On the contrary, they might drink together, exchange jokes and make fun of each other, then suddenly one word leading to another, they might be propelled from a jocular mood to the bitterest quarrel - and, for all we know, might after fighting and hurting one another, embrace again as dear friends. Much of what looks contradictory to us - the intensity of their devotion, their violent fear of hell, their feelingsof guilt, their atonement, the immense outbursts of joy and mirth, the sudden flare-upand untamedforce of their hatred and aggressiveness alternatingwith the utmost kindness and - all these extremes of hatred and love, violence and repenmagnanimity tance, are in fact symptoms of the same social and personalitystructure.The play of instincts and emotions was more spontaneous, direct, and unstable than at later stages of the civilizingprocess.Only to us, for whom everything is more subdued, moderate, and calculated,and for whom social taboos are do built much more deeply into the fabricof instinctuallife as self-restraints, or the strength of this piety and the intensity of aggressiveness cruelty appear antithetical. Religion, the awareness of the punishing and reward-giving omnipotence of God, by itself is never a "civilizing" or affect-subduing influence. Quite the contrary:religion is exactly as "civilized"as the human beings who practice it. And thus, because in this society emotions were expressed in a way we in our society can generally observe only among children,we call their manifestationsand forms "childlike." Wherever one looks into the documents of this time, one finds similar evidence: a life with an affect-structuredifferent from our own, an existence without security, without overlong calculation for the future. Whoeverdid not love or hate with full force in this society, who did not hold his own in the interplay of passions,might as well go into a monastery;for he was quite as lost in worldly life as one who, conversely, in subsequent society, and especially at court, would be unable to bridle his passions, to conceal and "civilize"his affects. In both instances, it is the structure of society that requires and fosters a specific standardof affect-control. "We,"as Luchairesays, "with our pacific customs and habits, with the solicitous protection the modern state bestows can upon each individual'sproperty and person,"16 scarcelyform an idea of this dissimilarsociety. In those days, the country fell into provinces,and the inhabitants of each province formed, so to speak, a small nation in itself which abhorredall others. These provincesin turn were again split up into a multitude of manors or fiefs, whose ownersnever ceased fightingeach other. Not only the great lords, the barons, but also the petty castellanslived in


wild isolation and were incessantly engaged making war against their "sovereigns,"their peers, or their subjects. Moreover,there was a constant rivalry between towns, between villages,between valleys, and constant wars between neighbors,which seemed to spring forth from the very multiplicity of territorialunits. This tableau helps make vivid somethingwhich has often been assertedin this work as a general proposition, namely, the nexus of social structure and personality structure. We have here a society with no central power strong enough to compel restraint.And if, in one or anotherregion,the strengthof a central power happens to grow, people over a greateror smallerterritoryare compelled to live in peace with one another, then the patterningof the whole libidinal economy - drives, affects, emotions, and all - will, quite gradually, change as well. Then the relative restraintand "considerationof people for one another" graduallyincreasesin everyday life, and the direct dischargeof emotions in physical aggression becomes confined to specific enclavesin time and space. Once physical violence has been monopolized by central powers, not just anyone who chances to be strong can enjoy the pleasureof physical aggression,but only a few who (like the police against outlaws) are licensed to use violence by the centralauthority, and largermassesonly in exceptional periods of military or revolutionaryconflict, in socially legitimated struggle againstexternal or internalenemies. But even these enclaves of licensed violence in societies at a different stage of a civilizing process which allow greater latitude for aggression- above all wars between nations - have become increasinglyimpersonalizedand lead less and less to affective dischargesas immediate and forceful as those of the medieval phase. Even in these enclaves, the restraintand transformationof aggression fostered and made necessary by everyday life in such a society cannotjust be broken at will. Yet this might happenmore rapidlywe surmise, perhaps, had not direct physical combat between a man and his hated adversarybeen converted into a mechanized strugglethat requiresa rigorous regulationof affects. Even at war in the civilized world at the presentstage, the individualcan seldom immediatelygive free rein to his lust for aggression, goaded by the sight of the enemy; rather, he must fight, regardlessof his feelings, by order of leaderswho themselvesremaininvisible,or only indirectly visible, and against an enemy who often enough remainsinvisible as well. And it requirestremendous social pressureand distress, as well as a constant stream of consciously directed propaganda, rearouseand legitimateamong to large masses of people manifestationsof strongaffects that have been socially proscribedand repressedin everyday life - delight in killingand destruction.


Still, these affects - in "refined"and rationalizedform - have their legitimate and clearly circumscribed place even in the daily life of contemporary civilized society. And this aspect is quite characteristic of the kind of transformation that accompanies the civilization of the affect-economy. Battle lust and aggressiveness, example, find socially permittedexpression for in the infighting of groups in society or, for that matter, in competitive sports. And they are manifest above all in "spectating," say, at boxing matches;in the daydream-like identification with some few people who, in a moderate and precisely regulated way, are allowed to act out such affects. This living out of affects in spectatingor, for instance,just watchinga murder film, is particularlycharacteristicof this kind of civilizedsociety. It is crucial for the development of books and theater, and decisive for the role of the cinema in our world. Already in education, in the prescriptionsfor conditioning young people, originally active, pleasurableaggression is transformedinto a more passiveand restrainedpleasurein spectating,consequently into a mere visual enjoyment. Already in the 1774 edition of La Salle's Civiliteit says, "Childrenlove to touch with their hands clothes and other thingsthat please them; it is necessaryto correctthis odious greed,and teach themto touch what they see only with their eyes."17 Sincethen, this has become a standardprescription.That it is denied him by sociogenetic self-constraint, to grab spontaneously something he desires, loves, or hates, is one of the most marked characteristics the "civilized" of person.The imposition of this kind of restraint contributes greatly to the entiremold of his or her gestures- however different in detail the schemaof theirpatterningmay be in the variousnations of the modernworld. Elsewhere has been shown how, in the course of a process,use of the sense it of smell or the tendency to sniff at food and other things, comes to be restrictedas if it were something animalic. Here we see one of those intertwinements(Verflechtungen) out of which another sense organ, the eye, a acquires quite specific importancein civilized society. Even more than the it becomes the mediatorof pleasurepreciselybecausedirect satisfactions ear, of pleasurable desires have been narrowed down by a great number of and prohibitions restraints. Evenwithin the scope of this displacement of libidinal urges from direct actionto watching, however, there is a distinct trend toward moderationand the "humanization"of affects. Comparedwith the visual delights of past phases,boxing is (to mention only this instance) a thoroughly tempered embodiment of transformed propensities to aggression and cruelty. A sixteenth-century example may illustrate. It has been picked out from a wide


range of others because it demonstratesa visual satisfaction of cruelty in which delight in torture is made manifestwith particular purity, without any rationaljustification or disguiseas punishmentor means of discipline. In sixteenth-centuryParis, part of the St. John's day festivities consisted in burning one or two dozen cats alive. This ceremony was widely renowned. The people assembled, and festive music was played. Under a sort of scaffolding, an enormous fire was built. Then a sack or basket full of cats was suspendedfrom the scaffold. The sack or basket began to glow, and the cats fell into the fire and burned while the crowd rejoiced in their cries and mewing. Usually the king and court were present.Sometimesthe king or the dauphinwas given the honor of lighting the pyre. And we hear that once, at tne special requestof CharlesIX, a fox was capturedand burnt along with the

Now this spectacle is certainly no worse than burninghereticsor tortureand public executions of all sorts. It seems worse only becauseit revealspleasure in the torment ofqiving beings that is so naked, undisguised,and free of any ulterior aim or excuse. The repugnancetoward such enjoyments that the mere report of this institution arouses in us - and which must pass for normal by present-daystandardsof affect-regulation - once again demonstrates the transformationof the personalitystructure.At the same time it revealsanother aspect of this transformation with particular clarity: much of what once aroused pleasure arouses displeasuretoday. Now, as then, this is not simply a matter of individualsensations. Burningcats on St. John's day was a social institution like boxing matches or horse races in our contemporary society. In both cases, the pleasures society affords itself are embodiments of a social standard of affectivity that encompasses all variationsof the affect-patterningof individuals;and whoever steps outside the bounds of that social standard is considered "abnormal" like, for instance, someone who wanted to satisfy his desire in a sixteenth-century manner, by burning cats. This is precisely because, in our phase of civilization, the normalconditioningof people restrainsthe expressionof pleasurein such activity via the inculcation of anxiety as self-constraint.And this is, obviously, the simple psychological mechanismwhereby the transformation of people's emotional life is effected: socially undesirablemanifestationsof pleasure-seekingdrives are threatened and punished with measures that generate anxiety and Unlust. In that way, unpleasurablefeelings that are socially generatedbattle with masked desire. It has been shown before from various aspects how in the course of a civilizing process the threshold of feelings of shame and revulsion advances. What has just been said refers to one of the mechanismseffecting this change.

242 It remains to be considered more closely what were the changes in the overall structure of society with which this change in personality structure went handin hand.

1. A. Luchaire,La societe francaiseau temps de Philippe Auguste(Paris, 1909), p. 273. 2. Ibid., p. 275. 3. Ibid., 272. p. 4. Ibid., p. 278. 1955), p. 30. 5. Johan Huizinga,The Waning the MiddleAges (Harmondsworth, of to emphasis.) (Retranslated preserve 6. Quotedibid., p.76. au 7. H. Dupin,La courtoisie moyenage (Paris, 1931),p. 79. 8. Ibid., p. 77. Der 9. Zarncke, deutsche Cato (Leipzig, 1852),p. 36f., V. 167/8 and V. 178/80. 10. Ibid., p. 48, V. 395ff. 11. Huizinga,Waning the MiddleAges, pp. 29-30. of 12. P. Durrieu, Les tres belles Heures de Notre Dame de Duc Jean de Berry (Paris, 1922),p. 68. Documents nouveaux sur les moeurs populaireset le droit de 13. Ch. Petit-Dutaillis, au dans lesPays-Bas XVe siecle(Paris, 1908), p. 47. vengeance 14. Ibid., p. 162. added. 15. Ibid., p. 5. Emphasis au La 16. Luchaire, societe francaise temps dePhilippeAuguste, p. 278f. et 17. La Salle, Les regles de la bien-seance de la civilite chretienne(Rouen, 1774), p. 23. Pariset les parisiensau seizieme siecle (Paris, 1921), 18. For more, consult A. Franklin,
p. 506f.

Theory and Society 5 (1978) 229-242 ? Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam - Printed in the Netherlands