Distancing (increasing the distance) means colloquially (and sociologically) the marking of a social distance between a person (an actor ) and another or an act or expression ( I distance myself from this crime ).
The adjective distant can also stand for a very reserved form of politeness .
In process sociology according to Norbert Elias , "distancing" refers to an increasing emotional distance from reality, which allows it to be analyzed more soberly and gradually more realistic models or theories (including everyday theories ) to be developed that increase the chances of successful control of reality . The opposite term to this is commitment , understood here as a high level of emotional closeness to reality, which leads to vivid projections of one's own ideal and fearful images onto reality and thus to a distorted view as well as less chances of controlling real dangers. Both perspectives occur extremely rarely in extreme or ideal-typical form and can be described as mental illnesses.
The normal case is a differently balanced mixture of committed and distant relationship to reality. The relationship between these two characteristics of personality structures changes historically in line with changes in social structures . Elias assumes a process of civilization that produces increasingly distant personality structures that also represent the basis of scientific progress.