A quick note to apologise for the many spam messages and emails subscribers to this blog have recently received. It looks like the WordPress site was hacked. I’ve done what I can to stop this and, for the moment at least, it appears to have worked. In the process, I’ve reset all admin and contributor accounts bar my own. Please contact me on email@example.com if you had admin or posting rights and wish them to be reinstated.
We are still in the throes of moving to the new website and organising bulk mailings from there, until then, this blog may still be used from time to time for certain Elias-related announcements and information.
In the mean time, I look forward to seeing a lot of you in Brussels in December.
Very best to all and thanks for your patience!
I’m delighted to announce the publication by Routledge of Climate Change, Moral Panics and Civilization, by Amanda Rohloff, edited by André Saramago. Full details of the book here.
The book’s author, Mandy Rohloff, will be known to many in the figurational community. Mandy died in December 2012, only a short while after being awarded her PhD at Brunel University. At the time of her tragic and untimely death, this book was already then in development, with a proposal accepted by Taylor and Francis for its publication. The story of its subsequent development and realisation is told in full in its Preface, but suffice it to say that this publication is the culmination of a great deal of effort, patience and persistence on the part of Mandy’s parents Judy and Maurie Rohloff, and the outstanding sociological and editorial work of André Saramago, who has doggedly seen this project through to its fruition.
The book explores the sociogenesis of climate change as a social concern through tracing the growth of ‘ecological civilising processes’. Through detailed theoretico-empirical analysis, Rohloff painstakingly documents the emergence of an ascendant ‘carbon temperance’ movement: a ‘greening’ of behavioural standards which increasingly find expression through a series of environmental ‘moral panics’. The very idea of thinking of climate change as a ‘moral panic’ is immediately polemical. But this is intentionally so: the book is anything but the work of a climate change denier. Rather, this is a skilful and sociologically rich analysis which invites us to rethink conventional ways of framing the topic and, moreover, serves to problematise the more general sets of sociological theories and concepts that can be employed to make sense of anthropogenic climate change as a social problem.
In sum, this is an innovative and insightful extension of Eliasian sociology to a highly topical field. The book makes major contributions to debates within environmental sociology, moral panic and media regulation, environmental communication, and political science. It also offers a great deal to discussions within figurational sociology, particularly those relating to the concept of ‘decivilising processes’. It is essential reading for all who have an interest in these fields.
4–5 December 2018, Université Saint-Louis, Brussels
A postgraduate workshop led by Professors Robert van Krieken (University of Sydney) and Stephen Mennell (University College Dublin) will be held on 4–5 December, immediately before the opening of the conference on ‘Global Interdependencies: What’s new in the human society of individuals?’ (see https://eliasbrussels2018.wordpress.com/)
The workshop is particularly for PhD students interested in integrating civilising processes and historical sociology perspectives into their research. A provisional programme can be found at https://eliasbrussels2018.wordpress.com/workshop/.
There is no charge for the workshop, apart from a small charge for light refreshments, although participants will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs.
Enrolment in the workshop will be limited to 20 participants, and the closing date for applications is 30 September 2018. Those who would like to take part should send an email to Robert van Krieken – firstname.lastname@example.org – briefly stating their interests and what they are currently working on.
Please feel free to forward this announcement to any individuals or organisations to whom it may be of interest.
Contents of Human Figurations, vol. 7, no. 1
‘Elias and Popper’ Stephen Mennell
‘Herder and the Idea of a Nation’ Godfried van Benthem van den Bergh
‘One across goes into sociology: A neglected feature of mass culture’ Hugh Ridley
‘Translator’s Introduction: Menno ter Braak’s two articles on Norbert Elias, ‘The age of kitsch’ (1935) and ‘The word civilization’ (1939) Robert van Krieken
‘The age of kitsch: Our culture seen as a period of ‘uncertainty of form’; art and Kitsch are not opposites’ Menno ter Braak
‘The word civilization: on the border between civilization and culture’ Menno ter Braak
‘High culture unravelled: A historical and empirical analysis of contrasting logics of cultural hierarchy’ Marcel van den Haak
‘Thinking with Elias using the Collected Works’ Emilia Sereva
NOTE: The favourable comments on Norbert Elias’s early work by the Dutch writer Menno ter Braak have often been referred to, but Robert van Krieken here makes them available for the first time in English translation.
Abstracts have been flooding in from all over the world for the Brussels conference in December. Technically, today is the deadline for submissions, but abstracts will be accepted until the end of the week – that is, by Sunday 20 May. So, if you want to present at the conference, and have not yet sent in an abstract, please get your skates on.
Abstracts should be sent to the conference email address: EliasBrussels2018@gmail.com.
At the Brussels conference on 5–8 December 2018 a session will be organized by Profs. Stefan Kramer and Peter Ludes (University of Cologne, Germany). This is a revised call for papers.
We call for Abstracts for papers of no more than 400 words to be submitted not later than May 15th, 2018. Every effort will be made to accommodate contributions by all scholars who are making serious use of the ideas of Norbert Elias in their research. Submissions should be sent to the conference email address: EliasBrussels2018@gmail.com and to the organizers of this session
email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stefan Kramer’s introduction looks at the social credit point system in the People’s Republic of China. It investigates the historical connection of the newly established system with the traditional ideal of the Chinese social structure and its cultural narratives. The traditional ideal aimed at a balanced relationship of benevolence and piety between rulers and subordinates in family as well as in local and state structures. It also refers to the duty of self-cultivation. This ideal represented the central element of the Chinese scholar state since the axis time. It was used similarly by all philosophical schools, even if it has been interpreted and applied differently. This social system of power still determines participation and exclusion in Chinese communities. It has established different narrations of Chineseness in changing historical conditions.
In his introduction, Peter Ludes will argue: In general, ever newer dis-/information and ex-/communication technologies and ex-/communication modes accelerate habitus shifts. The social control and behavior shifts in the emerging world power of China require closer attention also in terms of more widely conceived and more or less reality-adequate utopias/dystopias. Ludes defines “alternatives” as desirable, consistent and realizable social actions, processes, or structures different from the predominant ones or, in Elias’s terms: as long-term intergenerational goals of alternative figurations.
Basic questions concerning accelerating habitus shifts and long-term alternatives include, e.g.: How do new intra- and interstate interdependencies enhance habitus shifts and support or break up previously dominant power ratios? How do alternating perspectives on “Western” modernity prove to be particularly valuable? Which role do widely incoherent perceptions of collective “alternatives” play in the “integration–disintegration tensions” of the “contemporary world”?
All contributors to our session are invited to take into account the mutual interdependencies and conflicts of “comprehensive social control and the newly revived and reassembled ideal of self-cultivation” and/or new types and scopes of algorithmic surveillance.
We are glad to say that the Norbert Elias Foundation website (www.norberteliasfoundation.nl) is back online after about two weeks. The interruption was due to the invoice from the site’s hosting service having ended up “floating in the spam filter”, and therefore being overlooked. Our apologies.
The new Foundation website (http://norbert-elias.com/en/), online but still under construction, was not affected by this break in service.
GLOBAL INTERDEPENDENCIES: What’s new in the human society of individuals? –The political and academic relevance of Norbert Elias’s work today
The full call for papers can be found on the conference website:
Please note that abstracts for papers should be submitted not later than 15 May 2018. Every effort will be made to accommodate contributions by all scholars who are making serious use of the ideas of Norbert Elias in their research.
Submissions should be sent to the conference email address:
There was an unfortunate mistake in issue 48 of Figurations, which we emailed to subscribers a few days ago. The article on “Two photographs from Elias’s Leicester years” was jointly authored by Gordon Fyfe and Adrian Jitschin. Apologies to Adrian for the omission of his name.
Editor, Figurations: Newsletter of the Norbert Elias Foundation