Sponsor a Chair…

Our friend and colleague, Gordon Fyfe (Keele University, UK), has recently brought to our attention an initiative at the University of Leicester library which allows for the sponsoring of chairs. For the price of £115 per chair (approx €140) it is possible to ensure a chair in the library will carry the inscribed name of Norbert Elias. The library has also indicated that should ten or more chairs be sponsored in this way, it would be possible to create an entire reading room devoted to Norbert Elias. This would be a wonderful and fitting tribute to Elias, who spend a considerable amount of time in the library when he was employed at Leicester. If you are interested in sponsorship, please read the attached information. And should you be generous enough to want to go ahead, please let me know (jason.hughes@le.ac.uk).

UoL_Library_Sponsor_a_Chair

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New edition of Human Figurations journal

The latest issue of the Human Figurations has now been published online.  You can view the papers here:

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/h/humfig/11217607.0003.1*?rgn=full+text

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A Civilized Evening with Norbert Elias. University of Edinburgh, 20th February 2014

elias

 

Liz Stanley, Emilia Sereva and Jacques Human are organising a ‘Civilized Evening with Norbert Elias’ at the University of Edinburgh on 20th February from 16.00–18.00. Full details of the event are here.

The provisional programme is as follows:

Introduction

Elias talking 1: ‘The Task of Sociology’ ‘Wishful Thinking’

Readings: What is Sociology?

Elias talking 2: ‘Hegel, Marx, above all Marx’

Reading: Reflections on a Life

Elias talking 3: ‘Excitement, Boredom, Violence’

Readings: The Civilizing Process, and The Germans

Elias talking 4: ‘The Problem of Time’

Reading: The Loneliness of the Dying

Elias talking 5: ‘How To Become Human’

Readings: Involvement and Detachment

Eliasian Moments: Collegial Discussion & Convivial Talk

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PhD in Cultural Sociology at the University of Amsterdam

The post is fully funded for three years. Full details here: http://www.uva.nl/en/about-the-uva/working-at-the-uva/vacancies/item/14-032.html

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Three Graduate Teaching Assistantships in Sociology, University of Leicester

The Department of Sociology, University of Leicester has today announced three Graduate Teaching Assistantships in Sociology. The Assistantships cover full time home/EU fees, but it would be possible for international students to apply (and to pay the difference between home and international fees). The successful applicants will also receive an annual stipend and salary (worth £13,726 each year) as well as an annual Training Grant (worth £750 each year) to support appropriate research and development expenses.

The three new GTAs are the latest in a series of opportunities in the Department for funded postgraduate work. These form part of a broader initiative to grow our already substantial PhD community, and clearly mark the Department’s commitment to investing in the future of the discipline.

As subscribers to this blog will no doubt be aware, Leicester has a long-standing association with the work of Elias. An engagement with Elias’s work continues to this day, and the Department would particularly welcome applications from prospective candidates who have an interest in exploring, applying, and extending the principles of process sociology. Please direct any informal queries to me at jason.hughes@le.ac.uk

The deadline for applications is  31st March, 2014. The proposed start date is October 2014.

Further details and application forms are available on the University website, here:

http://www2.le.ac.uk/study/research/funding/sociology-gta

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Elias, Conference, Leicester. Extended Deadline: 31st January

We’ve had an amazing response to this event. To date, we have received in excess of 90 abstracts. However, we’ve also received a number of late submissions citing the Christmas vacation, family commitments, etc. as the reason for not making the deadline. In view of this, we’ve decided to extend the deadline to 31st January, 2014. It’s thus in early February that we’ll contact everyone who’s submitted an abstract with further information.

Below, once more are details of the Call for Papers.

From the Past to the Present and towards Possible Futures: The Collected Works of Norbert Elias

College Court, University of Leicester, 20th–22nd June 2014

Call for Papers

‘One cannot ignore the fact that every present society has grown out of earlier societies and points beyond itself to a diversity of possible futures.’ 

‘Today we have basically lost the ability to think of a future. Most people do not want to go beyond their present – they do not like to see themselves as a link in the chain of generations’ – Norbert Elias, 1987

In 2014 the eighteenth and final volume of the Collected Works of Norbert Elias in English will be published by University College Dublin Press.

The mammoth undertaking, in association with the Norbert Elias Foundation, Amsterdam, and under the stewardship of Professor Stephen Mennell, has taken a decade to bring to fruition. It brings together the entire corpus of Elias’s works, featuring many writings previously unpublished or not hitherto translated into English, faithfully representing his core ideas and his overall sociological position.

The conference marking the completion of the whole project will appropriately be held at the University of Leicester, where Elias lived and taught from 1954 to 1977. It both honours Elias’s association with the University of Leicester, and recognises the widespread, international and interdisciplinary interest in his work, and its resurgence within the University and more generally within the human sciences.

Craig Calhoun, Director of the London School of Economics, has agreed to give the opening address (Friday 20th). A further keynote address on  will be provided by Abram de Swaan (Saturday 21st). Further invited plenary sessions will also be provided by: Behrouz Alikhani, Marc Joly,  Marta Bucholc and Bo Paulle.

The conference is organised around some of Elias’s key works: On the Process of CivilisationWhat is Sociology?The Established and the OutsidersQuest for Excitement; and Essays I: On the Sociology of Knowledge and the Sciences.

Despite its focus on the Collected Works of Elias, the spirit of this event is one of openness to, and dialogue with, competing sociological positions. It will pose questions including:

·         How might Elias’s work be employed to address some of the challenges of the human sciences in the twenty-first century?

·         Elias was not a sociologist in the narrow sense: he aimed at a grand sociological, historical, psychological synthesis. Did he succeed?

·         To what extent does Elias’s work provide a means of redressing the fragmentation of the human sciences and, especially, reintegrating sociologists who have intellectually migrated to different, increasingly diverse, specialisms and sub-disciplines?

·         Is Elias’s critique of sociologists’ ‘retreat into the present’ still valid today? What role might Elias’s work have in the more general ‘relational turn’ that has become a major topic of discussion in recent years?

·         Is it possible to reconcile Elias’s ‘figurational’ sociological practice – marked by its emphasis on long-term processes and its caution regarding the intrusion of ‘heteronomous values’ – with the institutional demands for short-term ‘impact’, ‘accountability’, and the increasing emphasis on the short-term practical and monetary value of social scientific research for specific ‘user groups’?

·         Can Elias’s approach be squared with recent calls for a more ‘public’ sociology, and indeed, more explicitly politically-involved and directed ‘partisan’ scholarship’?

In addition to a series of postgraduate workshops and keynote presentations on these and related central concerns, the conference will feature five parallel streams organised according to Elias’s key works as follows:

On the Process of Civilisation

Civilising processes, decivilising processes, ‘dyscivilising’ processes and debates about processual ‘directions’

Violence, war, terror and international relations in long-term developmental perspective

Sociogenetic and psychogenetic relationships

Critiques, revisions and extensions to Elias’s magnum opus

(Contributors may also wish to refer to related works, such as The Court SocietyHumana Conditio and Essays II: On Civilising Processes, State Formation and National Identity)

What is Sociology?

Power, figurations, interdependence, and theoretical debates about them

Sociogenesis of sociology and the concept of ‘society’

Game models and relational thinking

Structure/agency and the society of individuals

(Contributors may also wish to refer to related works, such as The Society of Individuals and Essays III: On Sociology and the Humanities)

Essays I: The Sociology of Knowledge and the Sciences

Knowledge and scientific establishments

The politics of figurational sociology

Problems of method and methodology

Unplanned long-term processes versus planning and policy

Prospects for a grand synthesis of history, psychology and the social sciences

Elias’s sociological practice

(Contributors may also wish to refer to related works, such as Involvement and Detachment and The Symbol Theory)

Quest for Excitement

Sport, social bonding and violence

Mimetic and leisure activities

Work, leisure and consumption

Gender, power and identities in the spare time spectrum

The Established and the Outsiders

Community studies and community relations

Blame and praise gossip in the formation of communities

Developments in established–outsider relations theory

Ethnicity, migration and locality

Abstracts of no more than 500 words for the conference should be submitted to the conference organisers, John Goodwin (jdg3@leicester.ac.uk) and Jason Hughes (jason.hughes@le.ac.uk) not later than 31 January, 2014.

Abstracts must:

·         Specifically address one or more of the conference themes (and specify preferred stream)

·         Include details of institutional affiliation

·         Be written in English, since all presentations will be in English

Abstracts received after the closing date will not be considered. Registration for the conference will open 3 March 2014.

Further information about the Collected Works of Norbert Elias

Besides containing many texts never before published in English, or not published at all, the Collected Works contain new editions, extensively amended, annotated and cross-referenced. Intending contributors to the conference are recommended to consult the new editions.

1        Early Writings

2        The Court Society

3        On the Process of Civilisation

4        The Established and the Outsiders (with John L. Scotson)

5        What is Sociology?

6        The Loneliness of the Dying and Humana Conditio

7        Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilising Process (with Eric Dunning)

8        Involvement and Detachment

9        An Essay on Time

10      The Society of Individuals

11      Studies on the Germans

12      Mozart and Other Essays on Courtly Art

13      The Symbol Theory

14      Essays I: On the Sociology of Knowledge and the Sciences

15      Essays II: On Civilising Processes, State Formation and National Identity

16      Essays III: On Sociology and the Humanities

17      Interviews and Autobiographical Reflections (Autumn, 2013)

18      Supplements and Index to the Collected Works (Spring 2014)

For further information, see the UCD Press website: www.ucdpress.ie

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Elias interviews: last but one volume of Collected Works published

Norbert Elias, Interviews and Autobiographical Reflections, edited by Edmund Jephcott, Stephen Mennell, Richard Kilminster and Katie Liston (Dublin: UCD Press, 2013 [Collected Works, vol. 17]). xx + 332 pp. ISBN 978-1-906359-11-9. €60, but 20 per cent discount if ordered directly from the publisher’s website, www.ucdpress.ie.

In the last decade of his life, Elias gave many interviews in which he discussed aspects of his work, rebutting many common misunderstandings of his thinking and further developing ideas sketched out in his writings. Besides a selection of these ‘academic’ interviews (many of them not previously published in English, or not published at all), the book contains his essay in intellectual autobiography and a long interview in which he talks about his own life. Vol. 17 of the Collected Works can serve as an excellent introduction to Elias’s thinking overall.

The contents are as follows:

Norbert Elias, 1897–1990

Note on the text

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

1          Notes on a lifetime

INTERVIEWS

2          Norbert Elias’s story of his life (1984) – nterview with Arend-Jan Heerma Van Voss and Bram Van Stolk

3          ‘Sociology … done in the right way’ (1984–5) – interview with Johan Heilbron

4          An interview in Amsterdam (1969) – interview with Johan Goudsblom

5          ‘On the Process of Civilisation’ revisited (1974) – interview with Stanislas Fontaine

6          Sociology as the history of manners (1978) – interview with Heiko Ernst

7          ‘I use historical studies to clarify certain universal human problems’ (1981) – interview with Didier Eribon

8          Knowledge and power (1984) – interview with Peter Ludes

9         The Janus face of states (1982) – interview with Peter Ludes, Frank Adler and Paul Piccone

10        ‘We are the late barbarians’ (1988) – interview with Nikolaus von Festenberg and Marion Schreiber

11        We need more empathy for the human difficulties of the process of civilisation’ (1989) – interview with Ulfried Geuter

12        ‘Perhaps I have had something to say that will have a future’ (1989) – interview with Wolfgang Engler

13        A ‘Jewish Portrait’ (1989) – interview with Herlinde Koelbl

APPENDICES

I           Selected poems

II         On re-reading my doctoral dissertation

III        Editorial note on Erich Kallius and the Gumbel Case

IV        List of interviews and conversations with Norbert Elias

Bibliography

Index

The interviews numbered 3 and 9 have not previously been published in any language. Numbers 6, 7, 10, 11, 12 and 13 have not previously been published in English; number 7 has been translated from the French by Stephen Mennell, and the rest from German by Edmund Jephcott, as also were Appendices II and III.

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Elias Conference, Leicester: Last Call

The deadline for abstracts for the next major Elias Conference, to be held in Leicester in June 2014, is just over one week away. Please submit your abstract by 31st December 2013.

We have already received many excellent submissions from scholars from a range of disciplines, and from across several continents. This promises to be a major event. Again, we would like to stress the openness of the event, and invite submissions from any with an interest in the areas covered by the conference.

Please note, the information below has been updated to include details of plenary and keynote speakers who have now accepted our invitation to address the conference.

From the Past to the Present and towards Possible Futures: The Collected Works of Norbert Elias

College Court, University of Leicester, 20th–22nd June 2014

Call for Papers

‘One cannot ignore the fact that every present society has grown out of earlier societies and points beyond itself to a diversity of possible futures.’ 

‘Today we have basically lost the ability to think of a future. Most people do not want to go beyond their present – they do not like to see themselves as a link in the chain of generations’ – Norbert Elias, 1987

In 2014 the eighteenth and final volume of the Collected Works of Norbert Elias in English will be published by University College Dublin Press.

The mammoth undertaking, in association with the Norbert Elias Foundation, Amsterdam, and under the stewardship of Professor Stephen Mennell, has taken a decade to bring to fruition. It brings together the entire corpus of Elias’s works, featuring many writings previously unpublished or not hitherto translated into English, faithfully representing his core ideas and his overall sociological position.

The conference marking the completion of the whole project will appropriately be held at the University of Leicester, where Elias lived and taught from 1954 to 1977. It both honours Elias’s association with the University of Leicester, and recognises the widespread, international and interdisciplinary interest in his work, and its resurgence within the University and more generally within the human sciences.

Craig Calhoun, Director of the London School of Economics, has agreed to give the opening address (Friday 20th). A further keynote address on  will be provided by Abram de Swaan (Saturday 21st). Further invited plenary sessions will also be provided by: Behrouz Alikhani, Marc Joly,  Marta Bucholc and Bo Paulle.

The conference is organised around some of Elias’s key works: On the Process of CivilisationWhat is Sociology?The Established and the OutsidersQuest for Excitement; and Essays I: On the Sociology of Knowledge and the Sciences.

Despite its focus on the Collected Works of Elias, the spirit of this event is one of openness to, and dialogue with, competing sociological positions. It will pose questions including:

·         How might Elias’s work be employed to address some of the challenges of the human sciences in the twenty-first century?

·         Elias was not a sociologist in the narrow sense: he aimed at a grand sociological, historical, psychological synthesis. Did he succeed?

·         To what extent does Elias’s work provide a means of redressing the fragmentation of the human sciences and, especially, reintegrating sociologists who have intellectually migrated to different, increasingly diverse, specialisms and sub-disciplines?

·         Is Elias’s critique of sociologists’ ‘retreat into the present’ still valid today? What role might Elias’s work have in the more general ‘relational turn’ that has become a major topic of discussion in recent years?

·         Is it possible to reconcile Elias’s ‘figurational’ sociological practice – marked by its emphasis on long-term processes and its caution regarding the intrusion of ‘heteronomous values’ – with the institutional demands for short-term ‘impact’, ‘accountability’, and the increasing emphasis on the short-term practical and monetary value of social scientific research for specific ‘user groups’?

·         Can Elias’s approach be squared with recent calls for a more ‘public’ sociology, and indeed, more explicitly politically-involved and directed ‘partisan’ scholarship’?

In addition to a series of postgraduate workshops and keynote presentations on these and related central concerns, the conference will feature five parallel streams organised according to Elias’s key works as follows:

On the Process of Civilisation

Civilising processes, decivilising processes, ‘dyscivilising’ processes and debates about processual ‘directions’

Violence, war, terror and international relations in long-term developmental perspective

Sociogenetic and psychogenetic relationships

Critiques, revisions and extensions to Elias’s magnum opus

(Contributors may also wish to refer to related works, such as The Court SocietyHumana Conditio and Essays II: On Civilising Processes, State Formation and National Identity)

What is Sociology?

Power, figurations, interdependence, and theoretical debates about them

Sociogenesis of sociology and the concept of ‘society’

Game models and relational thinking

Structure/agency and the society of individuals

(Contributors may also wish to refer to related works, such as The Society of Individuals and Essays III: On Sociology and the Humanities)

Essays I: The Sociology of Knowledge and the Sciences

Knowledge and scientific establishments

The politics of figurational sociology

Problems of method and methodology

Unplanned long-term processes versus planning and policy

Prospects for a grand synthesis of history, psychology and the social sciences

Elias’s sociological practice

(Contributors may also wish to refer to related works, such as Involvement and Detachment and The Symbol Theory)

Quest for Excitement

Sport, social bonding and violence

Mimetic and leisure activities

Work, leisure and consumption

Gender, power and identities in the spare time spectrum

The Established and the Outsiders

Community studies and community relations

Blame and praise gossip in the formation of communities

Developments in established–outsider relations theory

Ethnicity, migration and locality

Abstracts of no more than 500 words for the conference should be submitted to the conference organisers, John Goodwin (jdg3@leicester.ac.uk) and Jason Hughes (jason.hughes@le.ac.uk) not later than 31 December, 2013.

Abstracts must:

·         Specifically address one or more of the conference themes (and specify preferred stream)

·         Include details of institutional affiliation

·         Be written in English, since all presentations will be in English

Abstracts received after the closing date will not be considered. Registration for the conference will open 3 February 2014.

Further information about the Collected Works of Norbert Elias

Besides containing many texts never before published in English, or not published at all, the Collected Works contain new editions, extensively amended, annotated and cross-referenced. Intending contributors to the conference are recommended to consult the new editions.

1        Early Writings

2        The Court Society

3        On the Process of Civilisation

4        The Established and the Outsiders (with John L. Scotson)

5        What is Sociology?

6        The Loneliness of the Dying and Humana Conditio

7        Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilising Process (with Eric Dunning)

8        Involvement and Detachment

9        An Essay on Time

10      The Society of Individuals

11      Studies on the Germans

12      Mozart and Other Essays on Courtly Art

13      The Symbol Theory

14      Essays I: On the Sociology of Knowledge and the Sciences

15      Essays II: On Civilising Processes, State Formation and National Identity

16      Essays III: On Sociology and the Humanities

17      Interviews and Autobiographical Reflections (Autumn, 2013)

18      Supplements and Index to the Collected Works (Spring 2014)

For further information, see the UCD Press website: www.ucdpress.ie

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Emotion, Habitus and World War I – New Book by Helmut Kuzmics and Sabine Haring

This is to announce the publication of a much anticipated volume by Helmut Kuzmics and Sabine Haring: Emotion, Habitus und Erster Weltkrieg. Soziologische Studien zum militärischen Untergang der Habsburger Monarchie. (Emotion, Habitus and the First World War: Sociological Studies of the Military Fall of the Hapsburg Monarchy).  V & R unipress: Göttingen 2013, 607 pages, 69.99 Euro (Germany). Full details are available here: Kuzmics

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New PhD Studentship Opportunities at the University of Leicester

The University of Leicester has recently been successful in its application to the AHRC as part of a consortium of three midlands universities (Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham) for a number of fully funded PhD studentships. The Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership has a focus on areas of research in arts, but, following a discussing between the Heads of Arts and Social Sciences at Leicester, the programme has also been extended to Social Sciences, including Sociology. Given the AHRC umbrella, topics will need to have some link to the areas of culture/history, etc. and will need to be pitched as such. Developmental studies of culture, or more general figurational analyses with a focus of, say, literature, art, film, music, etc. would thus make for an ideal fit with the thematic priorities of the programme.

The Partnership has secured a generous quota of fully funded PhD Studentships for each of the three Universities involved paid in part by the AHRC. There are three stages to the process of application:

1. An application to the Department via the normal mode of application:

http://www2.le.ac.uk/study/research/how-to-apply

2. An application by January 9th together with the prospective supervisor to the Midlands3Cities programme website:

http://www.midlands3cities.ac.uk/midlands-3-cities/funding.aspx

3. Academic references (from applicant-appointed referees) by 14th January.

Deadlines are strict, which means that time is tight for prospective applications. For full details of the programme, see here. Informal discussions and expressions of interest should be sent to Jason Hughes.

In looking at the Partnership Programme outline, I was minded of a conference stream at Graz earlier this year in which a series of papers were presented on the topic of Elias and Popular Culture. These kinds of areas, once again, would be ideal for this particular PhD Studentship Programme. Below, as a reminder, is an outline of some of the topics considered in that stream:

Norbert Elias is well known for his study of long-term ‘civilising processes’. He had a robust intellectual rationale for using ‘civilisation’ rather than ‘culture’ as the primary focus for his work. As he discusses in the opening to his magnum opus, On the Process of Civilisation, the term ‘Kultur’, particularly in its German usage, has retained certain connotations from its specific path of development, stressing introspection, difference, uniqueness. ‘Civilisation’, on the other hand, has conceptual value because of its emphasis on development: for its application as a term which invites comparison, contrast, and which is always attuned to long-term processes of ‘becoming’. Arguably, despite its normative baggage as a watchword for Western superiority, the concept of civilisation remains analytically useful because it does not separate cultural processes from social processes, and encompasses much that is normally considered in relation to studies and analyses of ‘culture’. This presents a series of enduring problems: what is the evidential status of ‘cultural artefacts’ when viewed as historical data? Might popular culture constitute a vehicle for shifting standards of socially acceptable behaviour? Where do studies of popular culture stand in relation to analyses of civilising processes? How might a contemporary researcher locate research into film, television, and new media, in the context of longer-term processes of social development? How might one reconcile Elias’s work with ‘media studies’ and other analyses of popular culture?

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