Here arise two questions. What spatial structure was implied by author when addressing the royalty as ‘one front class’. Despite the visible obviousness of the answer or, at least, deep rooted perception of the ‘royalty’ or, say, ‘sovereign’ as exclusive and unique status which can not, if one imagines it spatially, be sided by anyone in any way other than as if he (sovereign) condescends from above, I think this question bears some useful implications.
Namely, if that spatial representation be pyramid with sovereign solely on the top, should it mean that every other class of subjects to this specific societal construction be ‘Dual front class’. The righteousness of those questions (or inferences) might only be proven by the spatial power structure presented by Elias in ‘The Court Society”. In fifth chapter of the book Elias discusses etiquette as part of competition over prestige and status. The sovereign has instigated and favored that mode of competition as one, which guarantees him a role of referee.
Located at the top of that spatial power structure, king was safe about his unique status as long as the game he initiated was being played. By defining the rules of that game king actually prescribed behavioral regulations which, in turn, shaped the precise spatial configuration of power within that pyramid. The person’s position within hierarchy was dualic: the different modes of behavior are being employed toward those higher and those lower within the pyramid.
Courtier was, as Elias suggests, not free from those regulations as he might only find the origin of his current status in sovereign. I acknowledge that here Elias makes some confusion: he, perhaps, takes an evolutionary view and, employing broad sociological perspective, tries to point at the ultimate state, the system of power tends to. Although he refers to the epoch of Louis 16 as to the time which approximates that absolute state there might be serious reservations as to the degree to which the nobles depended on sovereign as on the only source of their status.
But, as I understood, only the complete acceptance of this model may tease out some valuable results of it, so I will leave my comments until further time. Spatial organization of Power in France was marked by ‘pressure and counter-pressure’ balance. Lower classes were hold down and prevented from ‘climbing’ and higher classes were adored and subserviently obeyed. Thus formed spatial power relation were kept in balance.
Nevertheless, the system, according to Elias, was not solid and immobile – special favors of the king might easily change the balance. This allows the conclusion that system was built around power relations, where [in absolute] the main source of power was king who elaborated the rules of behavior pertaining to power relation and the degree of compliance to this rules might warrant one the place within the spatial power system or mechanism of power.