Creating Knowledge—A Theory-Building Workshop in Case-Reconstructive Research in the Social Sciences 19-20 November 2010, Goettingen

A warm welcome to all participants!

The issue of theory building is a constant accompaniment, requirement, and goal of many knowledge creators and scholars. The Workshop dealing with these topics is organized by doctoral students at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Goettingen. The English-speaking plenary session – key speakers include figurational sociologist Cas Wouters (Amsterdam/Utrecht) and, representing the sociology of knowledge, Roswitha Breckner Vienna) – will begin by addressing questions of theory production with a focus on the methodological implications.

In the second part of the workshop on Saturday, interdisciplinary junior researchers will address the challenges of theoretical generalization with a focus on case reconstructive research by presenting their individual research projects and discussing these issues with other doctoral candidates.

We hope you will enjoy the following two days in the modern and historical spaces of the Georg–August–University of Goettingen!

For any requests during the workshop please visit or call the registration desk

Funded by the The KMU-Netzwerk der Göttinger Graduiertenschule Gesellschaftswisschenschaften (SME-Network of the Göttingen Graduate School of Social Sciences), with the support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) “Europa fördert Niedersachsen” and in cooperation with the section of Qualitative Methods (led by Prof. Dr. Gabriele Rosenthal) at the Center of Methods in Social Sciences (MZS) at the University of Goettingen.

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Podcasts of Dublin conference now online

Podcasts of the papers presented at the international conference on ‘Globalisation & Civilisation in International Relations: Towards New Models of Human Interdependence’, 9-10 April 2010 in Dublin, can now be found at:

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Call for Papers: Norbert Elias and British Sociology

A special session on “Norbert Elias and British Sociology” will be held at the 60th anniversary conference of the British Sociological Association, on 6-8 April 2011 at the London School of Economics.

The session will focus on the reception and continuing influence of Norbert Elias in British sociology, from his arrival in London in 1935 to the present day. Themes to be covered include: (1) the early years at the LSE to his eventual appointment at the University of Leicester; (2) Elias’s relationship to the British sociological establishment; (3) the development of the sociology of sport and the “Leicester School”; and (4) the current status of his legacy in British sociology in the broader context of globalization.

The session is being organised by Katie Liston and Jon Fletcher. If you would like to contribute a paper, please send an abstract to Katie and Jon by 1 October 2010, at the following addresses:

Katie Liston:

Jon Fletcher:

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Figurational sessions, Göteborg

XVII World Congress of Sociology 2010
11–17 July 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden

For the final programme for the five figurational sociology sessions at the World Congress, see under “News” on the website of the Norbert Elias Foundation.

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Mozart and Other Essays on Courtly Art

Just published:

Norbert Elias, Mozart and Other Essays on Courtly Art, edited by Eric R. Baker and Stephen Mennell (Dublin: UCD Press, 2010). 200 pp. ISBN: 9781906359096

Like his father Leopold, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was dependent on a court aristocracy in whose eyes he was little more than a domestic servant. Unlike his father, however, his personal makeup was already that of the freelance artist who sought to follow the flow of his own artistic conscience and imagination rather than the courtly conventions and standards of the day. In Mozart: the Sociology of a Genius, Elias paints a portrait of this extraordinarily gifted artist born into a society that did not yet possess either the concept of ‘genius’ or (at least in music) that of freelance artist. The apparent contradictions of his character – the refined elegance of his compositions and the coarseness of his lavatorial humour – reflect his uncomfortable and eventually tragic straddling of two social worlds.

The volume also includes two long essays on related topics, previously unpublished in English.

‘The fate of German Baroque poetry: between the traditions of court and middle class’ asks why even such notable poets of the Baroque period in Germany as Martin Opitz and Christian Hofman von Hoffmanswaldau later fell into neglect, in contrast to their contemporaries in England and France – such as Milton, Marvell, Racine and Corneille. The reason, says Elias, was that in Germany courtly conventions and feelings were rejected much more radically by the middle-class writers of the age of Goethe and Schiller.

Elias’s essay ‘Watteau’s Pilgrimage to the Island of Love’ was only published posthumously, and is not included in the German Gesammelte Schriften. It concerns Watteau’s painting also known under the title of The Embarkation for Cythera, seen as the quintessence of the courtly style and fête galante genre. Watteau’s work too fell into disfavour at the time of the Revolution, but then became the centre of attention once more among the French Romantics.

This volume includes a full colour reproduction of the Louvre version of The Embarkation for Cythera, and, like other volumes in the series, has been thoroughly re-edited and annotated.

Discount Price if ordered directly from the publisher ( €48.00

List Price: €60.00

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XIII Simpósio Internacional Processo Civilizador

XIII Simpósio Internacional Processo Civilizador
9–12 November 2010
Universidade Nacional da Colômbia (UNAL) Bogotá, Colombia

The deadline for abstracts is 19 May 2010. Abstracts should refer to one of the following themes:

  • Sport and leisure;
  • Education and Culture;
  • Latin America;
  • Theoretical debates

Contact address:

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Vingtième Siècle: Special issue on Elias

Vingtième Siècle: Revue d’histoire

vous invite

le vendredi 7 mai à 17h30 à l’EHESS
(54, bd Raspail, 75006 Paris, salle 524)
à une table ronde sur le numéro spécial

Norbert Elias et le 20e siècle : le processus de civilisation à l’épreuve

sous la direction de Quentin Deluermoz

n°106 avril-juin 2010

Pourquoi les historiens spécialistes du 20e siècle, à la différence de ceux travaillant sur les époques médiévale ou moderne, n’ont-ils pas, ou peu, utilisé la réflexion de Norbert Elias sur le processus de civilisation ? Voici la problématique, neuve, à laquelle ont bien voulu se confronter sociologues et historiens, spécialistes et non-spécialistes de la pensée de Norbert Elias.

Ce numéro spécial de Vingtième Siècle suit une démarche en quatre temps : un appareil introductif, des études historiographiques, des tentatives d’application du modèle théorique éliassien à des domaines de recherche par des historiens français d’abord et par des sociologues étrangers ensuite.

Les violences extrêmes de la Grande Guerre, le relâchement des corps sur les plages pendant l’entre-deux-guerres, les colonisations européennes, le sport de masse, le maintien de la peine capitale aux États-Unis : autant de sujets pour lesquels l’approche de Norbert Elias, dans son ampleur comme ses fragilités, peut se révéler pertinente.


Présentation Quentin Deluermoz

Cadrage introductif

Biographie de Norbert Elias


Termes clés de la sociologie de Norbert Elias

Pour un usage libre et respectueux de Norbert Elias Roger Chartier, entretien avec Quentin Deluermoz

Retour sur l’œuvre et l’auteur

Une théorie de la civilisation face à l’« effondrement de la civilisation » Florence Delmotte
A Theory of Civilization and “the collapse of Civilization”

Éléments pour une histoire de la notion de civilisation : la contribution de Norbert Elias Jean-François Bert
Elements for a History of the Notion of Civilization : The Contribution of Norbert Elias

Dynamique de champ et « événements » : le projet intellectuel de Norbert Elias (1930-1945) Marc Joly
Field Dynamic and “Events” : Norbert Elias’ Intellectual Project (1930-1945)

Un échange de lettres entre Raymond Aron et Norbert Elias (juillet 1939)


Norbert Elias et l’expérience oubliée de la Première Guerre mondiale Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau
Norbert Elias and the Forgotten Experience of the First World War

Du relâchement des mœurs en régime tempéré : corps et civilisation dans l’entre-deux-guerres Christophe Granger
Relaxation of Morals in Moderate Climate : Body and Civilization Between the Wars

Norbert Elias et la question des violences impériales : jalons pour une histoire de la « mauvaise conscience » coloniale Romain Bertrand
Norbert Elias and Imperial Violence : Markers for a History of the Colonial “Guilty Conscience”


L’histoire, le caractère national et la civilisation américaine Stephen Mennell
History, National Character and American Civilization

Comment les processus de civilisation se sont-ils prolongés : de la « seconde nature » à la « troisième nature » Cas Wouters
How Did Civilizing Processes Continue : From “Second Nature” to “Third Nature”

Approche figurationnelle du sport moderne : réflexion sur le sport, la violence et la civilisation Eric Dunning
“Figuring” Modern Sport : Some Reflections on Sport, Violence and Civilization

Le processus de civilisation et la peine capitale aux États-Unis David Garland
The Civilizing Process and American Capital Punishment

Quelques observations en guise de conclusion Stephen Mennell

Comptes rendus d’ouvrages autour de Norbert Elias

L’œuvre et son commentaire – Le corps : le sport, la violence, les rapports entre les sexes – La construction de l’État-nation

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Methodologies for studying figurations

Methodologies for studying figurations: an open question about best practices

In What is Sociology? Elias makes the following observation: ‘If sociology has to investigate figurational processes resembling complex games, then statistical aids must be developed which will be suited to this task’  (1978: 132). This statement was originally published in 1970, technologically speaking a long time ago. Much has changed in terms of the development of statistical modelling systems, and other tools for analysis. Sensing an affinity between the figurational processes Elias explains (which we seek to study in our respective research projects: a) understanding and explaining ecological habitus development processes and b) the analysis of path-dependency in processes of overuse) and the uses of sophisticated game models, complexity theory, resilience theory, and complex systems thinking in general, we want to learn more about whether and how sociologists are using these and other methodologies to study figurations.

We would appreciate any input about this topic. We look forward to hearing from you!

Debbie V.S. Kasper, Sweet Briar College, VA, USA

Wijnand Boonstra, Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden,

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Latest volume of Collected Works published

Norbert Elias, The Loneliness of the Dying and Humana Conditio (Dublin: UCD Press, 1 April 2010 [Collected Works, vol. 6). 192 pp. ISBN 9781906359065 (hardback)

The latest volume of the Collected Works of Norbert Elias in English, edited by Alan and Brigitte Scott of the University of Innsbruck, contains two of Elias’s shorter books.

The Loneliness of the Dying is one of Elias’s most widely admired works. Drawing on a range of literary and historical sources, it is sensitive and even moving in its discussion of the changing social context of death and dying over the centuries. Today, when death is less familiar to most people in everyday life, the dying frequently experience the loneliness of social isolation.

Humana Conditio, written in 1985 to mark the fortieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, has never before been published in English. ‘Human beings’, writes Elias, ‘have made the reciprocal murdering of people a permanent institution. Wars are part of a fixed tradition of humanity. They are anchored in its social institutions and in the social habitus of people, even the most peace-loving’. Although Elias, like most people at the time, failed to foresee the end of the Cold War, his discussion of ‘hegemonic fevers’ remains highly relevant to understanding present-day international relations.  Elias’s meditation on the human lot ranges over the whole of human history to the future of humanity.

The volume is published at the list price of €60.00, but can be purchased at the discount price of  €48.00 if it is ordered online direct from the publishers at

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Foucault Studies: on Foucault and Elias

Foucault Studies, Number 8, February 2010

Special section on Michel Foucault and Norbert Elias

Introduction to the Special Section
Sam Binkley, Stefanie Ernst

Space, Time and the Constitution of Subjectivity: Comparing Elias and Foucault
Paddy Dolan

Emotional Intelligence: Elias, Foucault, and the Reflexive Emotional Self
Jason Hughes

The Planned and the Unplanned: A Roundtable Discussion on the Legacies of Michel Foucault and Norbert Elias
Sam Binkley, Paddy Dolan, Stefanie Ernst, Cas Wouters

Foucault Studies is an electronic, open access, peer reviewed, international journal that provides a forum for scholarship engaging the intellectual legacy of Michel Foucault, interpreted in the broadest possible terms.

All articles are freely available as open access on our website:

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