Revised instructions: Figurational Research Network

At the great conference ‘From the past to the present and towards possible futures’ at the University of Leicester on 20-22 June, we accidentally included in the conference pack a first draft of a note about listing as a member of the international Figurational Research Network on the Norbert Elias Foundation website. That draft contained a number of errors. (All my fault, I’m afraid.) The correct instructions are:

>>If you would like to be listed below, please email with the following information:
Name, Institution and Department (if relevant)
An image of yourself
Brief description of your academic career and interests
List of principal publications
Contact details: email (essential), website, work postal address and mobile (if desired)

Or you may just wish to link your University profile page to your name below. If so, please email this link to us.

Everyone listed here is urged to keep their entry up to date, by sending us new information, again by email to Clare Spencer.<<


Stephen Mennell

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Human Figurations journal lastest issue

The most recent issue of the Human Figurations journal is now available to read online*?rgn=full+text

Editor’s Introduction: Swimming against the tide
Liston, Katie

Towards a Process-oriented Model of Democratisation or De-Democratisation
Alikhani, Behrouz

The debate about utopias from a sociological perspective
Kilminster, Richard

From Cultural Trauma to Nuclear War? Interpreting the Iranian-Israeli Conflict
Yair, Gad; Akbari, Behzad

‘Not under my roof’: Teenage Sexuality and Status Competition in the USA and the Netherlands since the 1880s
Wouters, Cas

Globalisation and the ‘American dream’
Mennell, Stephen

Four Theories of Informalization and How to Test Them
Collins, Randall


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Elias Conference: Postgraduate Workshops

As regular readers of this blog will know, from 20-22nd June, 2014, the University of Leicester will host a major conference in celebration of the completion of the Collected Works of Norbert Elias in English. Full details of the programme can be found at

As part of the conference, we are offering Postgraduates a unique opportunity to participate in a series of workshops which introduce key aspects of Elias’s distinctive approach to social analysis. The workshops will be convened by major international figures who’ve become synonymous with Eliasian scholarship. They include:

▪   Prof. Stephen Mennell (UCD) and Prof. Robert van Krieken (University of Sydney):  The Historical Comparative Method in Sociology:

▪    Prof. Johan Goudsblom (Amsterdam) and Prof. Stephen Vertigans (Robert Gordon): Figurational Thinking

▪     Prof. Nina Baur (Berlin) and Prof. Stefanie Ernst (Münster): Using Documents and Other Data in Figurational Sociology

While there will be a focus on sociology, the sessions will have relevance to postgraduates from across the social sciences, the arts and the humanities. The sessions are designed for postgraduates at all stages of study and completion.

Places are limited, so early booking is advisable. Participants will be selected on a first-come-first-served basis.

The workshops are free of charge and will include lunch.

The event will take place at College Court, Leicester on the 20th June.

Please register your interest with Professor Henrietta O’Connor on

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History as Sociology, Sociology as History: UCD 27 August 2014

On 27 August 2014, the School of Sociology, University College Dublin, will host a one-day conference on the theme of ‘History as Sociology, Sociology as History’.

Participants include Peter Burke (Cambridge), Michael Mann (UCLA), Dennis Smith (Loughborough) and – to be confirmed – Maria Lúcia Pallares Burke (Cambridge), as well as Stephen Mennell, Siniša Malesević , Steve Loyal, Seán L’Estrange and Andreas Hess of UCD.

There is no conference fee, and all are welcome. Further information from:

Provisional programme

10.15 Registration and coffee
10.55 Steve Loyal: Conference Opening
11.00 Michael Mann: ‘How Societies Evolved’

Response by Dennis Smith and discussion

12.00 Peter Burke: ‘Comparison in History’

Response by Andreas Hess and discussion

13.00–14.00 Lunch
14.00 Stephen Mennell: ‘Sociogenesis and Psychogenesis: Norbert Elias’s Historical Social Psychology as a Research Tradition in Comparative Historical Sociology’

Response by Steve Loyal and discussion


15.00–15.20 Tea break
15.20 Sinisa Malesevic: ‘The End of War and Historical Sociology’

Response by Seán L’Estrange and discussion

16.20 Steve Loyal: Closing Remarks



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Elias Collected Works Vol 18 – final volume – published

Volume 18 of the Collected Works of Norbert Elias, Supplements and Index to the Collected Works, has now been published, and is available direct from UCD Press at 20% discount: €48 Euro plus €6 postage (international) €4 (Ireland). It can be ordered direct from our website or by email

The consolidated index to the Collected Works as a whole is an indispensable and invaluable tool for navigating through Elias’s complex and overlapping writings.

Besides the index, this volume contains two substantial supplements: a long and important critique on Freud written in the last weeks of Elias’s life, not previously published in English; and an essay, not previously published in any language, on the anthropologist–philosopher Lucien Lévy-Bruhl and the problem of ‘the logical unity of humankind’. Both essays fill important gaps in Elias’s work, and deal with common criticisms of his thought.

Essays edited by Stephen Mennell, Marc Joly and Katie Liston; Index compiled by Stephen Mennell and Barbara Mennell.

2014 |  234 x 156 mm, xiv + 258 pp. | 978-1-906359-12-6

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Elias Conference, Leicester – Booking Update

The latest on the Elias Conference at College Court Leicester, 20–22nd June, 2014

Though the deadline for booking for the conference is tomorrow, 15th June, all accommodation for the conference venue, College Court, is now booked. Registration remains open for booking without accommodation.

We are aware of a number of people who have been unable to book alternative accommodation in Leicester. Unfortunately, over the same weekend the rock band Kasabian has organised a major concert at Leicester, with over 35,000 tickets sold. This has meant that all of the local accommodation has been booked up.

Fortunately, we have found alternative accommodation at Loughborough University’s conference centre, Burleigh Court. We have managed to arrange a preferential rate for Elias conference delegates of £68 per night, including breakfast. The accommodation is a 15-20 minute journey from the College Court conference venue. We have arranged free transport to and from the conference venue twice daily for the duration of the conference. We will provide a substantially discounted non-resident conference rate to all participants who take this option.

To book this accommodation, contact Burleigh Court on +44 (0)1509228105. Our contact there is Jessica Evans. Quote reference: 199650 to obtain access to the preferential rate and block-booked rooms. Email: 

To obtain the preferential non-resident conference rate, please contact Charlotte Gill:

Full details of the accommodation are here:

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CfP: Plunging into Turmoil: Social Sciences and the Crisis

Call for Papers


Conference Title: Plunging into Turmoil: Social Sciences and the Crisis
Organization: Political Observatory (, Assistant Professor Isabel David, (School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lisbon) and PhD Candidate André Saramago (Aberystwyth University)
Conference Date: 16-17 October 2014
Abstract Submissions: 31 May 2014
Abstract Approval: 15 June 2014
Paper Submissions: 9 October 2014
Call for Papers:
The Political Observatory (PO) are organizing a two-day conference in Lisbon, Portugal, on the relation between the social sciences and the current economic crisis.
The 2008 economic and financial crisis marked the beginning of a period of social transformation and uncertainty that continues to characterize present and future social development in unplanned and unexpected ways, frequently with harmful effects. In this context, the social sciences and their role as a tool of knowledge production about human social existence become all the more relevant. On the one hand, as a means for acquiring a better understanding of the character of this rapid and complex social transformation. And, on the other hand, as a way of orientating people and social practice as to how greater collective democratic control can be acquired over the manner and direction of this overall process. This conference intends to provide a space where contributions from different fields of the social sciences can come together in order to address a series of questions that arise from the present period of crisis. In particular, it strives to address two main strains of inquiry. First, how different sociological and theoretical approaches, ranging from political theory and political economy to sociology, might contribute to explaining the crisis, analyse its effects, and identify its potential future paths of development. And second, how the crisis and its effects on human social existence demand a re-thinking of the role of the social sciences in society, and what such a role might or should be. The conference is organized around a set of themes through which these strains of inquiry are addressed:
- An economic crisis or a social and civilizational crisis?;
- The crisis and democracy and the interplay between capitalism and democracy;
- The crisis and the privatization of the public space;
- The role of the social sciences in society and in crisis prediction, analysis and resolution;
- The impact of the crisis on the social sciences and their future;
             – Are or should the social sciences be politically involved on the basis of their understanding of society?
- Can the social sciences help envisage alternative forms of social, political and economic organization?;
             – Are the social sciences still Western-centred?
             – Civilizing and decivilizing processes amidst the crisis.
If you are interested in participating, please send a 500 word abstract to Assistant Professor Isabel David ( and PhD candidate André Saramago ( by May 31, 2014.
We acknowledge receipt of all emails and will reply to all. If you do not receive a reply, please resend your abstract. Please include the following in your email:
-          Author name;
-          Affiliation;
-          email address;
-          abstract in Word format;
-          a short CV.
Acceptance notices will be sent by June 15, 2014.
In case your abstract is accepted, a draft paper of around 8000 words is due one week prior to the beginning of the conference. We intend to compile an edited volume with the best papers for publication in an international reference publisher.
Registration for the conference includes a fee of 30€ for participants and 15€ for non-participants. Political Observatory members’ fee is 10€ and students’ fee is 5€. Please note that we are unable to provide any financial help to participants.
Any additional queries should be sent to and



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Hans Gál – BBC Radio 3 Composer of the Week

I only just noticed that Hans Gál is BBC Radio 3′s Composer of the Week this week (starting 5 May). Gál, as Eliasians will know, wrote the music to Norbert Elias’s revue Die Ballade vom Armen Jakob, when they were both interned on the Isle of Man in the Second World War.

His music will be presented by Donald Mcleod from Monday to Friday at 12.00 noon Monday to Friday, repeated at 18.30 (but check the time of the repeat); these times are BST. Subtract one hour for GMT.

You can listen online at, or use the BBC Radio iPlayer to listen to any programmes that you missed.

Stephen Mennell

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Elias Conference in Mexico: 3–8th November, 2014




MEXICO. 2014


Conference Details

1)      Location: Department of Political and Social Sciences, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

2)     Dates: : November 03 to 08, 2014

3)     Languages: Papers can be presented in English, Spanish or Portuguese.

4)     Reception of abstracts. Participants must send an abstract to the organizers of the event, who will send this on to the Academic Committee and/or the presidents of each thematic table for their evaluation. Proposals should be sent to Please send copies or CC to the following two email: and

5) Once a proposal is accepted, and in order to secure participation, speakers should send their completed unpublished texts in order for these be accessible to all the attendees.



a)   Deadline for abstracts and resumes: April 25th.  (Specifics of abstract format can be found below).

b)     Accepted proposals will be announced on June 15th, 2014.

c)    Last day to send completed papers. September 15th, 2014


Specifications on the abstract and resumés to be submitted

1. The abstract must be between 300 and 600 words, and should have the following requirements:

1)  Title

2) 5 to 10 key words

3) Name of the author

4) Objective(s)

5)  Statement of Problem

6) Details on how Norbert Elias will be relevant to dealing with the topic

7) Methodology and relevant bibliography

8) Possible conclusions


2. The resumé should not be more than one page long and should include academic trajectory, institutional affiliation, areas of research and teaching, publication and other relevant information.



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Johan Heilbron awarded Sarton Medal

On 24 April, the University of Ghent will present the 2014 Sarton Medal for the History of Sciernce to Johan Heilbron. The citation from the Ghent website reads:

Sarton medal awarded to Prof. dr. Johan Heilbron

(24-02-2009) We would like to invite you to the lecture of Professor Johan Heilbron
Date & Place

Date: Thursday, 24 April 2014, 4 p.m.
Place: Korte Meer 5 (John Vincke Room), Ghent.

After the lecture, the Sarton medal of Ghent University will be presented to Johan Heilbron. This ceremony will be followed by a reception.


Johan Heilbron is one of the most distinguished researchers in the field of the social and intellectual history of the social sciences. He is Director of Research at the Centre européen de sociologie et de science politique de la Sorbonne (France) and Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (the Netherlands).

He is the author of Het ontstaan van de sociologie, which first appeared in 1990, while an English translation appeared as The Rise of Social Theory in 1995 and a French edition as Naissance de la Sociologie in 2006. He is currently completing a new monograph, provisionally titled French Sociology.

He is also co-editor of The Rise of Social Sciences and the Formation of Modernity: Conceptual Change in Context, 1750-1850 (1998), as well as Pour une histoire des sciences sociales. Hommage à Pierre Bourdieu (2004). In addition, he is co-editor of the Complete Works of Norbert Elias (Suhrkamp Verlag).

In his work, Johan Heilbron has always kept an eye out for the social and historical conditions of social theory. He always draws attention to the ways in which social science is conceived in particular social and historical settings. As few others, he is able to clarify the historicity of the social sciences.


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