Social discipline, democracy, and modernity: Are they all uniquely 'European'?
College of Liberal Arts
Hamburg Review Social Science
6 & 7
Historically, narratives about the grandiosity of absolute monarchy and social discipline dominated the research agenda on European absolutism, as in the case of the renowned works of Norbert Elias. Yet, less emphasis was made about the various levels of powers existing outside the central monarchy and the importance of other institutions in laying the foundations of European modernity. It is in this spirit that it is worth examining the work of the German social historian Gerhard Oestreich and his historically rich notion of ‘social discipline’, as he gave light to the various differentiated levels of authority that demystified the powers of the absolutist state. As Oestreich argues that the establishment of social discipline was one of the most notable achievements of the absolutist state in as much as it is crucial in establishing a vibrant democracy, the paper examines the conceptual- and praxis-oriented links between and amongst the notions of social discipline, modernity, and democracy. Particularly, I locate this notion of ‘social discipline’ within the grand (meta)-narratives of Euro-centric modernity and how such dominating discourse has to be re-thought and re-drawn amidst emerging disquisitions about the various ‘stories’ of modernity (ies) in the non-Western world in which (Euro) Western-centric scholarship endeavors have dismally and unfortunately ignored. Furthermore, discussions of ‘modernity’, ‘democracy’ and ‘development’ have to be discursively situated within the broader realm of delicate cultural, social, historical and political nuances and subtleties of the context-in-question (e.g. state, nation or a political community) as opposed to totalizing and universalizing tendencies that European scholarship has been consistently characteristic of such.
Regilme, S. F. (2012). Social discipline, democracy, and modernity: Are they all uniquely 'European'?. Hamburg Review Social Science, 6 & 7 (3 &1), 94-117. Retrieved from https://animorepository.dlsu.edu.ph/faculty_research/8694
Civilization, Modern—European influences; Europe—Civilization; Democracy