No theory forbids me to say "Ah!" or "Ugh!", but it forbids me the bogus theorization of my "Ah!" and "Ugh!" - the value judgments. - Theodor Julius Geiger (1960)

Elias, N., Scotson, J.L. (1994, [1965]), The Established and the Outsiders, SAGE publications.

Norbert Elias's case study looks at relationships between established residents and newcomers in a small English suburb. The newcomers are seen as inferior by the established residents. Power dynamics between the groups shape their interactions. Elias suggests that this dynamic is universal and that established groups often view themselves as superior in terms of their human qualities. Differences in group cohesion and organization can contribute to power imbalances between groups. Minority or marginalized groups are often stigmatized and mistreated by dominant groups. When marginalized groups have some value or function to the dominant group, both benefits and disadvantages can arise for both sides. Language and group identity shape these relationships, and the group's history and development influence its identity and interactions with others.

 

Elias describes relationships between established individuals and outsiders. He did a case study of a small English suburb where there is a sharp division between an older group of established residents and a newer group of immigrants who are treated as outsiders. The established group sees itself as superior to the newcomers and generally regards them as lower quality individuals. Elias suggests that this dynamic is a universal human phenomenon and gives examples of terms that have been used to distinguish between higher and lower status groups. Elias also touches on the idea that groups with a higher level of power often see themselves as superior in terms of their human qualities. He then discusses the factors that caused the established group of residents to view themselves as superior to the newcomers. Elias suggests that their feeling of superiority was based on factors such as their sense of community and shared norms, and that this feeling was reinforced by their monopolistic control over non-human resources. Elias also mentions that the power imbalance between the two groups was largely based on differences in their level of cohesion and organization, and that this is a common pattern in many cases. He also notes that the power of the established group in the case study was based on strong relationships between families who had known each other for generations, as opposed to the newer group of immigrants who did not have these long-standing connections. Elias suggests that differences in group cohesion can be a significant factor in power imbalances between groups. In the case study of Winston Parva, the established group of residents had strong relationships with each other and a shared way of life, while the newcomers were unable to form close connections and were therefore less able to defend themselves against the established group's efforts to maintain their dominance. Elias also mentions that the complementary dynamics of "group charisma" and "group shame" are important aspects of established-outsider relationships, and that these dynamics are often used to reinforce power imbalances between groups.

 

Next, Elias discusses the ways in which minority or marginalized groups are stigmatized and mistreated by dominant groups. He mentions that these marginalized groups are often viewed as being "anomic," or lacking in discipline and self-control, and that dominant groups often use derogatory language or insults to demean and demoralize them. He also notes that when the power dynamic between these groups shifts, and the marginalized group becomes more powerful, the language and behavior of the dominant group may change in response. The passage concludes by noting that these patterns of stigmatization and mistreatment are seen in many different types of relationships between dominant and marginalized groups around the world.

 

Elias mentions that when the power imbalance between two groups is very large, marginalized groups may be completely excluded or even killed by the dominant group. However, when marginalized groups have some kind of value or function to the dominant group, the power dynamic may be more complex, with the dominant group seeking to maintain its advantage while also making use of the marginalized group. Elias goes on to discuss the various benefits and disadvantages that can accrue to both dominant and marginalized groups in these situations, including economic, non-economic, and psychological factors.

 People form group identities and these group identities can shape their interactions with others. Elias mentions that individuals may view themselves as belonging to a particular group, and use language or other means to differentiate themselves from people outside of that group. He also notes that the history or development of a group can be an important factor in shaping its identity and the way it interacts with other groups. He discusses the concept of the "diachronic group dimension," or the shared past experiences and shared sense of history that can give a group a sense of solidarity and cohesion. He also touches on the idea that people may be excluded from certain groups based on factors such as their background or history, and that these exclusions can have significant impacts on their social relationships and opportunities.

In this context, the focus is on how the self-regulation of an individual's feelings and behavior is related to the internal opinion of a tightly knit group of established individuals. The pressure to conform to the group's opinion is particularly strong in this case because belonging to an establishment gives individuals a strong sense of their superior worth compared to outsiders. In the past, the influence of a group's belief in their exclusive virtues and blessings on the self-regulation of the feelings and behaviors of its individual members was particularly evident in formations controlled by a priestly establishment and united by a shared belief in their superiority over outsiders. In our own time, this influence is exemplified most prominently in powerful nations controlled by a party establishment and united by a shared social belief in their unique value and superiority over outsiders. The parallel to Winston Parva is clear: there, in miniature, one could observe a core group of "old families" serving as a central establishment guarding the superior worth and respectability of all the residents of the older part of town, while the latter, as an establishment of a second order, closed ranks against the people of the new housing development, whom they saw as less respectable and inferior. In this case, the group's collective opinion, as represented by the established group, could be all the sharper because the group was small and had the character of a face-to-face unit. The fact that no one broke ranks, that no individual transgressed the taboo of closer personal contact with outsiders, suggests how effectively, in such a scenario, the self-regulation of individual members can be kept on track through a mechanism of "carrot and stick." It is kept on track by the prospect of realizing the personal value of the group, above all the prospect of recognition in the group's opinion, and by the threat of losing this recognition if one deviates from the group's norms. See, in particular, the discussions of "compulsion from without" and "self-compulsion."