Civilising offensives: education, football and ‘eradicating’ sectarianism in Scotland

John Flint and Ryan Powell

in Securing respect

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9781847420947
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303336 | DOI:
Civilising offensives: education, football and ‘eradicating’ sectarianism in Scotland

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This chapter refers to the work of Norbert Elias on the Civilising Process and the work of Elias and Scotson on The Established and the Outsiders to explore how values, norms and habits become inculcated and reformed within populations. It is argued that the unparalleled contemporary policy crusade to address sectarianism in Scotland illustrates an example of a civilising offense. This chapter begins with an account of the key concepts within Elias's social theory of the civilising process. It describes how both anti-sectarianism and Respect agendas may be characterized as civilising offensives. The chapter then offers an account of prime elements of the governance of sectarianism in Scotland, with emphasis on the arenas of education and football. The chapter argues that an anti-sectarianism agenda is a symbol of an ambitious attempt to reframe and remodel the values and traditions of sections of the Scottish population within a ‘respect’ paradigm and to build a wider apparatus of government mechanisms to remodel and reshape the conduct of citizens. In this chapter the common rationales and techniques shared by both anti-sectarianism and Respect agendas are considered. The chapter also suggests that theories provided by Elias are important tools in understanding and critiquing social processes and governmental attempts to realign these processes.

Keywords: Norbert Elias; values; norms; habits; sectarianism; Scotland; social theory; civilising offensives; governance of sectarianism; anti-sectarianism

Chapter.  7328 words. 

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