Stefanie Ernst’s Inaugural Lecture

Professor Stefanie Ernst will give her inaugural lecture in the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster on Friday 12 July 2013, at 12 noon in Room SCH5, Scharnhorststraße 121, Münster.

Her topic will be: ‘Die Meisterklasse: Vom Werden einer Figuration”

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Pieter Spierenburg’s Farewell Lecture

On Thursday 27 June 2013, Pieter Spierenburg will give his afscheidsrede, or farewell public lecture, upon his retirement as Professor of Historical Criminology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

The title of his lecture will be:

Please, please me’s number one: Social changes since the 1960s and their impact on the image of criminals and victims’

The ceremony will begin at 16.00 exactly in the Senaatszaal (A-Building) of the university, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, Rotterdam.

A reception will follow at around 17.00 in the same building. The Rector Magnificus warmly invites you to attend this ceremony and the reception

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Sociology and the Global Economic Crisis

Special issue of Sociology (Journal of the British Sociological Association

Call for Papers

Deadline for submissions: 31 August 2013

Editorial Team: Ana C. Dinerstein (University of Bath), Gregory Schwartz (University of Bath) and Graham Taylor (University of the West of England)

We hear it, see it, and read about it everywhere; yet, to what extent are we able to translate the quotidian reality of the global economic crisis into adequate forms of knowledge? Has the crisis highlighted important limits in our sociological imagination linked either to the subdivision of our discipline or, more fundamentally, questioned the contemporary relevance of sociology as a social science?

This Special Issue of Sociology, to be published in October 2014, invites contributions that will:

  • Explore how sociology can contribute to a better understanding of (the lived experience of) the global economic crisis; and/or
  • Reflect on how social processes and movements confronting the crisis can inspire a new sociological imagination.

And aims to bring together contributions that:

  • Bridge disciplines
  • Unsettle conventions
  • Cosmopolitanise epistemologies
  • Renew sociology

The Editors welcome contributions on relevant topics in any field of social science engaging with sociological research, from early career and established academics, and from those outside academia.

Queries: To discuss initial ideas or seek editorial advice, please contact the Special Issue Editors by email on sociology.specialissue.2014@gmail.com

Full Call for Papers can be viewed at http://www.britsoc.co.uk/media/48566/Global_Economic_Crisis_SOC_SI_2014_CFP.pdf

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5th International Forum on Civilities: LIVING SPACES

Xalapa, Mexico, 17–19 April, 2013

During the last four years, once a year, we have been gathering here in Xalapa, capital city of the state of Veracruz, on the Mexican coast of the Gulf of Mexico, to analyse and to discuss the general subject matter of civility. The gathering has been conceived as a small forum, in which a reduced number of scholars present written contributions to the understanding of those forms and ways of living together that give place to the process of civilization, as theorised by Norbert Elias.

Content, length and format of papers 

Papers must be original written contributions, not be published before under any format or means whatsoever. The length must be eight pages minimum and fifteen pages maximum, letter paper size, typed in Time New Romanfont, size 12, and 1.5 of interline space. Papers should be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 200 words, and by a maximum five key words.

The first page of the paper must indicate the title of the paper, the name of author(s), the institutional affiliation and institutional address of the author(s), and must also indicate an e-mail address for contact.

Papers should be written according to the format of the e-journal SubjeCivitas:

www.subjecivitas.com.mx

Abstracts and papers should be sent to:

horacio50@gmail.com

  • Th e papers presented in the forum will be published in the e-journal SubjeCivitas.
  •  Abstract reception closing date: March 1st, 2013
  •  Full paper reception closing date: April 4th, 2013

Dr. Horacio González

horacio50@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The latest issue of Human Figurations is now online

Human Figurations journal – third issue live online

Human Figurations: Long-term Perspectives on the Human Condition is a new journal supported and sponsored by the Norbert Elias Foundation. The unifying theme of the journal Human Figurations is a broad concern with long-term processes of the development of human society and the human condition.

The third issue is live online, the contents are:

Title Author(s)
Editor’s Introduction Liston, Katie
The Advancement of Humanity Mazlish, Bruce
Water is not (yet) a commodity: Commodification and rationalization revisited Castro, José Esteban
American Civilization Jones, Charles A.
Emotions and Habitus of Officers as Reflected in Great Literature: The Case of the Habsburg Army from 1848 to 1918 Kuzmics, Helmut
Manufacturing Austerity in the Eurozone Clement, Matt
Norbert Elias and the Habits of Good Sociology Hughes, Jason
Book Reviews

More information about the journal is below. If you’d like to submit a paper for consideration please email humanfigurations@me.com.

While Elias is best known for his theory of civilizing processes, he wrote on an astonishing range of topics, including violence, war, sport, ageing and dying, time, work, art, music, poetry, utopias and the relations between the sexes. Fundamentally, he advanced what have been called both a ‘post-philosophical’ theory of knowledge and the sciences, and an ‘historical social psychology’. His conception of the discipline of sociology was far broader than that which has now become institutionalized in the rather narrow departments of sociology in contemporary universities. In consequence, he inspires researchers from many disciplines, especially people working in the interstices between conventional disciplines: history (especially world historians and social historians), criminology, international relations, anthropology and political science. Human Figurations will attract contributions from across these fields, the unifying theme being a broad concern with long-term processes of the development of human society and the human condition.

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Session on Popular Culture and Civilisation, Graz, 25–27 April

Call for Papers for a Session on Popular Culture and Civilisation, Graz, 25–27 April 2013

This session will take place within the conference on Habitus, War and Civilisation, Department of Sociology, University of Graz, in honour of Helmut Kuzmics upon his retirement from his chair in Graz. Besides his work in recent years on war, Helmut has written extensively on literature and popular culture.

Email 300-word abstract plus bio to Jason Hughes at jason.hughes@brunel.ac.uk. Deadline for abstracts: 24 February 2013

Elias had excellent sociological reasons for selecting the term ‘civilisation’ to bear the conceptual weight of his theoretical approach. As he discusses in the opening to On the Process of Civilisation, the term ‘Kultur’, particularly in its German usage, has retained certain connotations from its specific sociogenesis – stressing introspection, difference, uniqueness. ‘Civilisation’, on the other hand, has sociological value because of its emphasis on development: for its application as a term which invites comparison, contrast, and which is always attuned to processes of becoming. Culture, particularly in the anthropological usage, has largely emerged unchallenged as a technical term. The distinction between culture in the technical and normative sense of the world is by now so deeply ingrained in Western academic traditions that it hardly needs to be stated. Civilisation, by contrast, remains highly contested, seemingly unable to shake off the hangovers of the normative usage as a watchword for colonising groups, particularly its mobilisation in the name of Western superiority, progress, and the domination of ‘others’. Yet, arguably, civilisation, or more specifically (to use Elias’s technical term) ‘civilising processes’, with its structure and process connotations, remains sociologically useful and encompasses much that is normally considered in relation to studies and analyses of ‘culture’. This presents an enduring problem for ‘figurational’ scholars: how does ‘culture’, particularly ‘popular culture’, ‘fit’ within the conceptual scheme and the approach to research developed by Elias? What is the ontological and epistemological status of ‘cultural artefacts’? Might popular culture constitute a vehicle for standards of socially acceptable behaviour, one that follows in a line of succession from previous modes of arbitration, such as manners texts, aristocratic edicts, and spoken (and eventually unspoken) codes of etiquette? Where do studies of popular culture stand in relation to analyses of civilising processes? How might a contemporary researcher locate research into say film, television, new media, in the context of longer-term processes of development? How might one reconcile Elias’ (and others’) work with ‘media studies’ and other analyses of popular culture? We invite papers that explore the relationship between popular culture and civilisation, exploring these questions amongst others. We would particularly welcome papers which are research-based, and which grapple with the problems of combining an engagement with long-term processes with a contemporary empirical focus.

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Fifth Annual Workshop on Comparative Historical Approaches to Fiscal Sociology, Chicago, 20 Nov 2013

In recent years, scholars from a variety of disciplines have embarked on an innovative wave of multidisciplinary research on the social and historical sources and consequences of taxation. We invite interested graduate students from history, law, and the social sciences to participate in a one-day workshop on this “new fiscal sociology.” In addition to brief lectures introducing students to the basics of taxation and the comparative history of taxation, the workshop will consist of discussion of classic and contemporary texts.

The workshop will be held on Wednesday, November 20th, in Chicago, IL in conjunction with the annual meetings of the Social Science History Association (SSHA). Interested students will also have a chance to present their own work on Thursday, November 21st, as part of the SSHA conference.

Space is limited. Small housing and travel stipends will be provided for a limited number of applicants under a grant from the National Science Foundation.

 

Applicants should submit a CV and a paragraph explaining their interest in this workshop, and (if applicable) a draft of a research paper that they would be willing to present at the SSHA. Preference will be given to students who also submit conference papers, but we encourage applications from all students interested in the workshop, including those at early stages of their graduate career.

Submit materials via e-mail to:

no later than February 22, 2013.

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Call for expressions of interest, encyclopedia entries

Dear all,
The editorial team for the forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Social Theory is looking for contributors for a number of entries in the Social History section. The length required is indicated, and sadly there’s no fee involved.

If you think you’d like to write one of these entries, please get in touch with me at robert.van.krieken@sydney.edu.au and let me know.

Warmest regards (from Sydney, literally!)
Robert

Annales School-B 3,500-4,000
Bendix, Reinhard-D 1,000-1,500
Braudel ,Fernand –D 1,000-1,500
British Marxist Historians (Cambridge Historians)-D 1,000-1,500
Dumezil, G. –D 1,000-1,500
Elias, Norbert
(including Civilizing Process, Figurational Sociology, Process Sociology)- 3,500-4,000
Empires, rise, decline and fall – B 3,500-4,000
Evolutionary Theory-B 3,500-4,000
Historical sociology-D 1,000-1,500
Laslett, Peter-D 1,000-1,500
Nelson, Benjamin –D 1,000-1,500
Gibbon, Edward –D 1,000-1,500
Spengler, O –D 1,000-1,500
Toynbee, A.J. –D 1,000-1,500
Turner, F. (frontier) –D 1,000-1,500

 

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Flip Schrameijer: Elias and mental health/illness

 

Recently I joined a community called ResearchGate, which requires one to show one’s academic credentials before being admitted. (Although sometimes one wonders …)

The other day I responded to this question: “Does anyone have advice on where to look for theorizing about mental health/illness outside of the psy-disciplines – for example sociological theory?”

Since most of you can’t immediately access this site, I quote my response in full. I’m well aware of not being fully acquainted with what has been produced on this subject by the “Elias-community”, so I’m open to suggestions and corrections.

“For a sociologist who has worked in mental health / psychiatry for more than 30 years, this is an easy question, but only if taken literally. I recommend looking in Elias, Norbert, (2009), ‘Sociology and Psychiatry’, in Essays III: On Sociology and the Humanities (Dublin: UCD Press, 2009 [Collected Works, Vol. 16], pp. 159–79.
The article is mainly about the different perspectives sociologists (such as Elias) and psychiatrists generally have on people. For those unfamiliar with Elias’ sociology its very hard to do his views justice in a few words since they radically deviate from mainstream ways of looking at people and societies. For those acquainted with his work, most of what he says here is familiar, since they are recurrent themes throughout his vast oeuvre. Time and again he has criticized the tendency in philosophy and the humanities to regard people as basically separated from the social world – as we say – ‘around’ each individual, with which one may or may not ‘interact’. Psychiatry adopts a special version of what Elias calls the homo clauses (‘the dominant concept of the human being of contemporary industrial societies’) namely homo psychiatricus, which is:
“a human being stripped of most attributes that one might call ‘social’, such as attributes connected with the standing of his or her family, with educational attainments, occupational training and work, or national characteristics and identifications. The individual person is seen essentially as a closed system whose own internal processes have a high degree of independence in relation to what appear as ‘external’ or social factors. In general, the latter are evaluated as peripheral when a person is considered psychiatrically. They can be ‘taken off’ as it were, like a patient’s clothes in a doctor’s surgery.”

He recognizes – indeed his chef d’oeuvre is, among other things, about its ‘sociogenesis’ – people do experience themselves in this manner, and yet its not an adequate view. The individual cannot be separated from such things as his or her national identification; this is part of what people are. He goes on to illustrate this view with the example of the loss of a loved one of which it is impossible to say it either happens in or outside a person.

So, one might react in part to your question with the counter-question which sociology you mean. In my opinion it may be clear that ‘mental illness’ as it is commonly understood, belonging to the domain of psychiatry, provides insufficient common ground for a fruitful discussion from the perspective of this sociology. (There is common ground elsewhere, though, such as with psychoanalysis and developmental psychology – but that’s another story since those don’t primarily concern ‘mental illness’.)

Finally one might ask what you mean by ‘mental illness’. Schizophrenia, for instance, was considered to be mainly caused by ‘unhealthy’ family relations by a number of world-acclaimed psychiatrists as little as 30 years ago, until the pendulum ‘in the field’ swung back to a new version of the mainly biological view from the first half of the last century. Autism was ‘discovered’ only 69 years ago and has undergone baffling changes in the way it was interpreted in psychiatry. ‘Hysteria’ was the classic ‘female malady’ in the mid-nineteenth century and had all but vanished a century later. So ‘mental illness’ is obviously something else in different ages and societies. In sociological theorizing about it, one should not take ‘mental illness’ as a given. On the other hand, a social construction, such as Scheff, Goffman or Szasz would have it in the 1960s, it isn’t either: the phenomena which are labelled mental illnesses have a reality beyond such constructions.”

 

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Happy New Year!

Best wishes for 2013 from the Norbert Elias Foundation.

This blog has been inactive for a couple of months, because – for some reason that we are still investigating – the great majority of users’ email addresses were deleted.

We have now restored the users’ list, using a backup file which, however, was 18 months out of date. So please let us know any corrections, or if you no longer wish to subscribe, by emailing the Foundation at elias@planet.nl.

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