Spontaneity and self-consciousness
This essay dates from a talk on "The future of leisure" that Elias was invited to give in 1957. While not altogether rejecting the then common expectation that the future for human beings would be one of abundant leisure, Elias set the question in the context of long-term developmental processes and the trend in industrial societies towards an increasingly rigid distinction between the spheres of "work" and leisure". In the early 1960s, Elias greatly enlarged the text, making a sustained argument about the tension between spontaneous feelings and the civilised constraints of self-consciousness, or the "feeling-reasoning balance". In the course of developing his argument, Elias has insightful things to say about jazz, dancing, modern art, the relationship between high culture and mass entertainment, and the changing balance of power between the producers and consumers of art and entertainment.
Elias, (2018)., Spontaneity and self-consciousness, in J. Haut, P. Dolan, D. Reicher & R. Sánchez García (eds.), Excitement processes, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 23-76.
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