Summary and Info
The Society of Individuals stands as testimony to the coherence of Norbert Elias's viewpoint over a long and distinguished career. Consisting of three interrelated essays, the first written in 1939, the second between 1940 and 1950, and the third in 1987, this book addresses the central question: what is the relation of the plurality of people to the single person we call the 'individual', and of the single person to the plurality? Part I, composed simultaneously with volume two of The Civilizing Process, represents Elias's first attempt at resolving this cardinal sociological problem. Part II marks a return to the theme, central to Elias's work: that the individual and society are not separate things, but only two differing perspectives. Part III returns again to the problem - this time considering the fundamental concept of the 'we-I balance', indicating that the relation of the 'I-identity' to the 'we-identity' of an individual is not fixed once and for all, but subject to very specific transformations. The Society of Individuals, winner of the European Amalfi Prize for Sociology and Social Sciences in 1988, represents Elias writing at the height of his powers.
More About the Author
Norbert Elias (German: [eˈliːas]; 22 June 1897 – 1 August 1990) was a German sociologist of Jewish descent, who later became a British citizen.
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