Jorge Arditi's study offers a history of mores from the High Middle Ages to the Enlightenment. Drawing on the pioneering ideas of Norbert Elias, Michel Foucault, and Pierre Bourdieu, the text examines the relationship between power and social practices and traces how power changes over time. Analyzing courtesy manuals and etiquette books from the 13th to the 18th century, Arditi shows how the dominant classes of a society were able to create a system of social relations and put it into operation. The result was an infrastructure in which these classes could successfully exert power. He explores how the ecclesiastical authorities of the Middle Ages, the monarchies from the 15th through the 17th century, and the aristocracies during the early stages of modernity all forged their own codes of manners within the confines of another, dominant order. Arditi goes on to describe how each of these different groups, through the sustained deployment of their own forms of relating with one another, gradually moved into a position of dominance.
Acknowledgments 1: Manners, Social Relations, and Power 2: Centeredness, Social Coalescence, and the Hegemony of Ecclesias 3: Courtesy, Detachment, and the Transformations of the Relational Order 4: Civility and the Politics of Grace 5: Honnetete and the Consolidation of Royal Centrality 6: Paradoxes of the English Gentleman 7: Etiquette and the Constitution of Multicenteredness 8: Foundational Metamorphoses Notes Bibliography Index