Cas Wouters

Cas Wouters is a sociologist at Utrecht University and a staff member at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research of the University of Amsterdam. He studied sociology in the 1960s at the University of Amsterdam, with Professor Joop Goudsblom as his main teacher. Being under the impression of the enormous changes in the regimes of manners and emotions at that time as well as of reading Norbert Elias's The Civilizing Process, he addressed the question, ‘Has the civilizing process changed direction?’ and attempted to describe and understand the changes during the Expressive Revolution by introducing a theory of informalisation. The theory implies that a long-term process of formalisation – of formalising manners and disciplining people – had been dominant from the sixteenth up to the last quarter of the nineteenth century, after which a process of informalisation has prevailed: behavioural and emotional alternatives increased, together with demands on emotion management or self-control. Cas has proceeded to elaborate this theoretical perspective in a variety of studies of late-nineteenth and twentieth-century social and psychic processes, focusing mainly on emotion regulation, dying and mourning, sexuality, and the emancipation of women and children. 


Cas can be contacted at home:

Hogeweg 8
1098 CB Amsterdam, Netherlands 

Webpage (articles)

Blog (including full list of publications)

Telephone: +31 206 655294 or +31 629 603 412


Selected Publications (publications in Dutch language not included)



Wouters, Cas (2007) Informalization: Manners and Emotions since 1890. London: Sage.

Wouters, Cas (2004) Sex and Manners: Female Emancipation in the West 1890 – 2000. London: Sage.



Wouters, Cas (2009) ‘The Civilizing of Emotions: Formalization and Informalization’ in: Hopkins, Debra R., Jochen Kleres, Helena Flam, and Helmut Kuzmics (eds) Theorizing Emotions: Sociological Explorations and Applications. Frankfurt a/M/New York: Campus: 169-194.

Wouters, Cas (2004) ‘Changing regimes of manners and emotions: from disciplining to informalizing’ in Steven Loyal and Stephen Quilley (eds) The Sociology of Norbert Elias. Cambridge University Press: 193-211.

Wouters, Cas (2002) 'Giving the finger', Theoretical Criminology, 6 (3): 369-374.

Wouters, Cas (2002) 'The Quest for New Rituals in Dying and Mourning: Changes in the We–I Balance', Body & Society, 8 (1): 1-27.

Wouters, Cas (2001) 'What is Love? On "What is Love? Richard Carlile's Philosophy of Sex" by M.L. Bush', Body & Society, 7 (4): 77-86.

Wouters, Cas (2001) 'The Integration of Classes and Sexes in the Twentieth Century: Etiquette Books and Emotion Management' in: Salumets, Thomas (Ed.) Norbert Elias and Human Interdependencies. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's UP: 50-83.
Wouters, Cas (1999) 'Changing Patterns of Social Controls and Self-Controls: On the Rise of Crime since the 1950s and the Sociogenesis of a "Third Nature"', British Journal of Criminology, 39 (3): 416-432.
Wouters, Cas (1999) 'Balancing Sex and Love since the 1960s Sexual Revolution', in: Mike Featherstone (ed.), Love & Eroticism. London: Sage: 187-214.
Wouters, Cas (1998) 'How Strange to Ourselves Are Our Feelings of Superiority and Inferiority', Theory, Culture & Society, 15,(1): 131-150.
Wouters, Cas (1997) 'Changes in the "lust balance" of love and sex since the sexual revolution: the example of the Netherlands', in: Gillian Bendelow and Simon J. Williams (eds), Emotions in Social Life: Critical Themes and Contemporary Issues, London: Routledge: 228-249.
Kilminster, Richard, and Cas Wouters (1995) 'From Philosophy to Sociology: Elias and the Neo-Kantians', Theory, Culture & Society, 12 (3): 81-120.
Wouters, Cas (1991) 'On Status Competition and Emotion Management: The Study of Emotions as a New Field ', Journal of Social History, 24 (4): 699-717.
Wouters, Cas (1989) 'The Sociology of Emotions and Flight Attendants: Hoschild's Managed Heart', Theory, Culture & Society, Vol 6 (1): 95-123.


Wouters, Cas (1987) 'Developments in Behavioural Codes Between the Sexes; Formalization of Informalization, The Netherlands 1930-1985', Theory, Culture & Society, 4 (2/3): 405-429.
Wouters, Cas (1986) 'Formalization and Informalization: Changing Tension Balances in Civilizing Processes',Theory, Culture & Society, 3 (2): 1-19.

Wouters, Cas (1977) 'Informalisation and the Civilising Process', in Human Figurations, essays for/Aufsätze für Norbert Elias, edited by P.R. Gleichmann, J. Goudsblom and H. Korte, Stichting Amsterdams Sociologisch Tijdschrift: 437-456.


If you are interested in obtaining an electronic version of any of the articles listed above, please contact Cas by email.