Support us


In this, his first, film, recorded in 1975, Norbert Elias speaks about his work with a general audience in mind. As the train speeds on, Elias explains his views on the passing of time. In the historical British Library, he shows the way he does research. Leafing through antique prints, he points out the shifts in the balance between the sexes in the course of the European civilising process. As he comes upon a street football game, he characterizes the sport as forever hovering between the extremes of boredom and violence. And during a walk in the park, Elias muses about his outsider position as a German Jew in Britain. The film ends with Elias expressing his vision of life in a single sentence that is bound to be remembered.

The documentary was made by Abram de Swaan and Paul van den Bos for Dutch Public Television in 1975.