This highly original book explains the sweeping changes to twentieth-century regimes of manners and the self. It provides a wealth of empirical evidence to demonstrate how changes in the code of manners and motions in four western countries are characterised by increasing informalization. Broad in scope and deep in analytic reach, it shows how the social and psychic distance between people diminished, the right to privacy spread, and the taboo on displays of superiority and inferiority strengthened. Its international comparison reveals general trends in class and personality structures as well as manners that are distinctively American, English, German, and Dutch.
‘Informalization supplants and surpasses all previous work on the changing manners and emotional styles of the West in the last century’.
– Stephen Mennell, University College Dublin
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