"In this area of the affects, the theatre of hostile collisions between people, the same historical transformation has taken place as in all others. No matter at what point the Middle Ages stand in this transformation, it will again suffice to take the standard of their secular ruling class, the warriors, as a starting-point, to illustrate overall pattern of this development. The release of the affects in battle in the Middle Ages was no longer, perhaps, quite so uninhibited as in the early period as the Great Migrations. But it was open and uninhibited enough compared to the standard of modern times. In the latter, cruelty and joy in the destruction and torment of others, like the proof of physical superiority, are placed under an increasingly strong social control anchored in the state organization. All these forms of pleasure, hemmed in by threats of displeasure, have gradually come to express themselves only indirectly, in a “refined” form. And only at times of social upheaval or where social control is looser (e.g. in colonial regions) do they break out more directly, uninhibitedly, less impeded by shame and repugnance."
Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process
; p. 162. (via luchadoreofliberty