The Fear of Belonging: The violent training of elite males in the late fourth century

Wood, Jamie (2020) The Fear of Belonging: The violent training of elite males in the late fourth century. In: Conflict and Social Control in Late Antiquity: The Violence of Small Worlds. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 9781108479394

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Abstract

This chapter explores the role of violent pedagogic practices in the formation of elite males in the later Roman Empire. It draws on the work of the sociologists Pierre Bourdieu and Basil Bernstein to inform an analysis of education's key role in social and cultural reproduction. Focussing on selected writings of two late-fourth century contemporaries, Libanius and Basil of Caesarea, the chapter suggests that violence of various sorts played a pivotal role in the formation of elite male subjects, whether in the school of the teacher of rhetoric (Libanius) or in monastic training (Basil). Violence played a pivotal role in both the form and content of late Roman education – as well as suffering and inflicting violence on others, students read about and performed violent narratives. The considered cultivation of feelings of fear was viewed as maintaining the pedagogic order and helping to form ideal masculine subjects. Through such experiences and by reflecting on them in pedagogic contexts, students learnt to understand the parameters of legitimate and illegitimate violence, enabling them to protect themselves and their community in a competitive social context.

Keywords:fear, social reproduction, education, pedagogy, training, asceticism, Libanius, Basil of Caesarea, Antioch, violence, late antiquity, status
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V110 Ancient History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V320 Social History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V330 History of Religions
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:40389
Deposited On:17 Apr 2020 15:32

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