Conference in honour of Richard Kilminster – Enrol now!

Richard Kilminster has for over four decades been one of the major advocates for the sociology of Norbert Elias, and an equally major contributor to the ‘figurational’ or ‘process-sociological’ research tradition that flows from it.

To mark Richard’s 75th birthday, a special two-day conference on The Sociology of Sociology in Long-term Perspective will be held in his honour at the University of Leeds on 5–6 April 2018. You are now warmly invited to sign up to attend this conference.

Richard gained his BA from the University of Essex, and then his MA at the University of Leicester, where there occurred his decisive encounter with Norbert Elias. After a year teaching English in Mexico, he moved to the University of Leeds, where he has worked since the 1970s. For much of that time he operated in a kind of creative tension with the late Zygmunt Bauman. To Bauman’s philosophically flavoured critical Marxism and later postmodernism, Richard constantly counterposed what he was later to call Elias’s post-philosophical sociology.

Richard has made a profound and unique contribution to the field of sociology, culminating in his two books The Sociological Revolution (1998) and Norbert Elias: Post-philosophical Sociology (2007). From his earliest contact with Elias in person, his oeuvre has focused on the sociology of knowledge and the sciences (Elias’s own contribution to which many of us regard as equal in important with the better-known theory of civilising processes).

Few scholars remain globally who are pursuing similar important lines of inquiry or who have the breadth and depth of theoretical knowledge to do so. He has been a key friendly influence in the ‘figurational research network’ of scholars, especially in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, both on his contemporaries and as an inspiration to a younger generation of sociologists.

As well as acknowledging and celebrating Richard’s unique contribution, secondary aims of the conference include: ensuring Richard’s legacy, especially reaffirming the centrality of the sociology of knowledge to the future of the discipline; and continuing dissemination of Elias’s ideas on the relationship between knowledge, social process and power.

Date, time and place

When: 5–6 April 2018 (commencing at 12 noon on 5 April and ending at 4pm on 6 April).

Where: Great Woodhouse Room, University House, University of Leeds, UK.

Confirmed speakers include: Richard Kilminster, Marc Joly, Andrew Linklater, Steven Loyal, Stephen Mennell and Alan Scott.

How to sign up

Attendance at the conference is free – there is no conference fee – but places are limited, so please book your place by clicking here to the Eventbrite link.

The conference is being organised by Ryan Powell, John Lever, Stephen Vertigans and Stephen Mennell – three former PhD students of Richard’s, and one of his oldest friends.

Conference administration

Sarah Biggins, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN



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