New Norbert Elias Essay Prize

With some regret, the Norbert Elias Foundation has decided to discontinue the biennial Norbert Elias Prize for the best first book by a sociological author. Reasons included other prizes being established elsewhere for the same purpose, but especially the increasing administrative burden on the Foundation’s office in Amsterdam. In its place, however, it has been decided to establish a Norbert Elias Essay Prize, to be awarded every other year. Submissions will be requested for particularly topical and pertinent issues. The prize will be awarded to the paper which provides the most incisive and innovative figurational approach to the topic.

Our first call is for papers which explore the topic ‘Contemporary Crises as Social Processes’.

Today there seem to be more crises in the world than ever before: the banking, financial and economic crisis, climate change, health epidemics, war and humanitarian crisis in the Ukraine and the Middle East.   All these crises have a social component to them. What can be said about this from the perspective of process sociology?

Essays should be no longer than 5,000 words, and be submitted by email to by the closing date of 30 April 2015. Papers must be written in English, but allowance will be made and possible support given to submissions by those for whom English is not their first language. Professor Stephen Vertigans of Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, will act as chair of the jury. The winning paper will be submitted for publication in Human Figurations and the author will receive a prize of 1,000 Euro.

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Norbert Elias Facebook page

For those who don’t know, there is an official Norbert Elias Face Book Page that has been up and running for some time.

Until now it has been used mostly to replicate posts from the Norbert Foundation Elias Blog, but the Page is fast approaching the critical number of 500 likes, which will enable us to make the most of the platform.

If you haven’t already done so and would like to be part of the Elias FB community, please ‘like’ the page by following this link:

And please feel free to pass on this request to anyone you think might be interested.

Many thanks!

Jon Fletcher

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Professor John Goodwin and Professor Henrietta O’Connor Join Sociology at Leicester

With effect from 1st August, Professor John Goodwin and Professor Henrietta O’Connor have both joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Leicester. Henrietta and John have a long-standing interest in the work of Elias. In particular, they have both published extensively on the Young Worker project that Elias set up during his time at Leicester in the 1950s.

Their arrival marks something of a more general renaissance of Eliasian scholarship at Leicester, following closely on the heels of the recent conference at College Court.

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Two GTAs in Sociology

Forgive the short notice. As part of the further expansion plans of Leicester’s sociology Department, there are two Graduate Teaching Assistants being advertised for a January 2015 start. The deadline for applications is 31st August.

Full details here:

We would welcome applications from students in any substantive areas that fit with the existing and historical strengths of the Department. If you have any informal queries, please contact me directly on

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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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