ISA World Congress 2010

Dear Elias-I list members

We write to you with good news about plans for a “figurational presence” at the ISA World Congress of Sociology in Göteborg in 2010.

Many subscribers to the Elias-I list will have participated in previous ISA World Congresses, especially the very successful Figurational Sociology sessions at the 1994 Bielefeld congress, but also in Montreal (1998) and Brisbane (2002). It was unfortunate that plans for a presence at the 2006 congress in Durban failed to materialise; we were trying to upgrade from an “Ad Hoc Group” to a more permanent “Working Group” status, but administratively fell between two stools.

For some years we’ve all been interested in establishing a more secure foundation for figurational/process sociological research activity in the ISA, and happily this has now come to fruition.

The President of ISA Research Committee 20 on Comparative Sociology, Prof. Mattei Dogan (Paris) has just indicated that the RC20 Board is happy to include among its Working Groups one on Figurational Sociology (although we may want to discuss the name). RC20’s website is here:

We now need to get some discussion going about what we’re going to do for 2010, what kinds of sessions we’d like to run, who’d like to organize and chair them, who’d like to function as the ‘chair’ of this working group, or set up a website, that sort of thing. Just to get things going, in approaching the RC20 Board, we made the following claims (below) about what we would do leading up to the 2010 Göteborg ISA World Congress.

It’s also possible we can do something for the 2008 ISA Research Forum in Barcelona, more on this shortly.

All comments and observations are welcome!

Best wishes

Robert van Krieken
Stephen Mennell

Appendix I: Statement of Intent submitted to RC20 by RvK:

The areas in which this RC20 Working Group will be providing the opportunity for sociologists from around the world to present the results of their recent research include, but are not restricted to:

a) the question of processes of civilization in stateless societies, and such an analysis might enrich contemporary social anthropology;

b) the analysis of the current dynamics of processes of civilization, and the extent to which it should be understood as improving control over human relations, in areas such as the sociology of emotions, the sociology of sport, media and communications, education, etc.;

c) the study of the ‘barbarism of civilization’, decivilization or ‘dyscivilization’, the analysis of totalitarian states, genocide, colonialism and post-colonialism;

d) comparative studies of civilization around the globe, in relation to the wide diversity of forms of state formation and cultural development, in regions such as Asia, South America and Africa, as well as the social scientific analysis of globalization and the expansion of a ‘world society’.

The bulk of the work done in figurational sociology so far has been in Western Europe, and the Working Group will work towards the stimulation of research undertaken from this perspective by scholars from North and South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania, in relation an ever-broader range of parts of the globe.

Appendix II: Response to RvK’s proposal from Mattei Dogan

—– Forwarded message from “mattei.dogan” —–
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 17:00:46 +0200
From: “mattei.dogan”
Reply-To: “mattei.dogan”
Subject: Research Committee

Dear Professor van Kriekan,

Thanks for your letter proposing a Working Group on “Figurational Sociology” under the umbrella of the Research Committee of Comparative Sociology.

I took some time to consult with other board members and there is a general agreement to include your group in our RC. I am glad to welcome you because I am an admirer of Norbert Elias, whom I’ve cited on numerous occasions about individualism. Of course, the members of your group automatically become members of the committee at large.

As you know, there will be a research council in 2008 in Barcelona. Our committee intends to participate and if you, or one of your colleagues, also intends to be present, you may organize a meeting.

Our research committee will hold in Spring 2008 a small conference on “Legitimacy and Delegitimation.” But this is already “closed” because of limited space.

All the best,
Mattei Dogan

72, bd Arago
Paris 75013
Tél et Fax: 33 1 45 35 80 52

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