«Être comme tout le monde». Per un’archeologia classicista del mimetismo sociale
- Ancien Régime Culture; Western Process of Civilisation; Laurence Sterne
During the so-called Ancien Régime, the «Process of Civilization» consisted in an education of the body and the language resulting in what we still call politeness. Being polite was to be politum, that is to say clean of any element not corresponding to an average condition. Such process tended to make equal all polite men, those who shared the same ideal of honnêtété. But, if all honnête-hommes had to be equal, or better identical, then identity resulted in the condition of being like all the others. In order to face this paradox, XVIIth and XVIIIth Century European culture developed a keen reflexion on the mask and the arrangement to society and the social eye. The first western theories of the mimetical identity think of identity as the result of a social transaction.