Amsterdams Sociologisch Tijdschrift online

Good news in these difficult times: The university library of the State University of Groningen, the Netherlands, has digitalized all articles published in the Amsterdams Sociologisch Tijdschrift (AST), from the first issue in 1974 to the last one 2004, and made them available for everyone. They can be seen on

You can browse through the issues by clicking on ‘Archief’ or, at the right side, on ‘Op nummer’. Articles by a particular author can be found by clicking on ‘Op auteur’. For thirty years, AST was a main platform for discussions on figurational sociology and the theory of civilizing processes. See, for example, contributions by Norbert Elias, Eric Dunning, Johan Goudsblom, Abram de Swaan, Cas Wouters and Christien Brinkgreve, among others. Most articles are in Dutch, some are in English. All articles have English summaries.

Nico Wilterdink


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CfP Process-Oriented Micro-Macro-Analysis

Call for Papers for the Session

Process-Oriented Micro-Macro-Analysis:
Mixing Methods in Longitudinal Analysis and Historical Sociology

at the 1st RC33 Regional Conference on Social Science Methodology: Asia (Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan)

Conference Date: September 11th – 14th, 2017

Submission Deadline for Papers: Please submit abstracts via the conference online system between November 1st 2016 and January 31st 2017,

Conference Website

Please find further information on ISA RC33 (Research Committee on Logic & Methodology of the International Sociology Association) on

Session Topic

Social theory is often interested in how social meso and macro phenomena or social contexts (e.g. organizations, markets, cities, regions, societies) and micro phenomena (e.g. everyday practices, interaction, communicative action, individual action) interact, causally influence and change each other.

However, analyzing such questions empirically pose methodological problems which have to be solved simultaneously: Not only is a (1) multi-level analysis needed, but (2) meso and macro phenomena typically change only on the longue durée, thus requiring either longitudinal analysis, historical methods or archival methods which typically make use of QUAL documentary analysis or QUAN public administrative data, structural or trend data. Although today, there are many sources of secondary data available, typically these data were produced continuously in their respective historical times and face the problems of selectivity and availability. (3) In contrast, micro phenomena either address the individual lifecourse or biographies which are typically either analyzed with QUAN survey data or QUAL narrative interviews. Alternatively, very short-term social processes are addressed, which are typically grasped by methods such as ethnography and video analysis. Data are collected today and any past events are reconstructed from the perspective of the present – which poses the particular problem of how to reconstruct past events and social practices on the micro level.

In summary, process-oriented micro-macro-analyses typically combine or mix different data sorts (e.g. ethnography and public administrative data) which address different time layers. Based on these observations and building on the prior debates at the RC33 Conferences in Naples and Sydney as well the HSR Special Issues on “Linking Theory and Data: Process-Generated and Longitudinal Data for Analysing Long-Term Social Processes” and “Social Bookkeeping Data: Data Quality and Data Management” (both 2009), the session asks how to conduct process-oriented micro-macro-analyses.

While papers can also discuss general methodological questions and problems in process-oriented micro-macro-analysis (e.g. sampling, linking data, data analysis), papers discussing specific methodological problems using a concrete mix or combination of data in a specific research project are especially welcome.

Session Convenors

Nina Baur (, Lilli Alexa Braunisch (; Jannis Hergesell ( Maria Norkus (, and Isabell Stamm (

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Ryan Powell appeals for renewal of contacts!

Ryan Powell has just moved to the University of Sheffield (from the neighbouring Sheffield Hallam University). In the process, he has accidentally lost all his email contact lists. He appeals to his friends to email him at his new address, so that he can reinstate his contacts.

His new email address is:



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Changing Power Relations and the Drag Effects of Habitus

The conference on Changing Power Relations and the Drag Effects of Habitus: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches in the Twenty-First Century, organised by the Institute of Sociology at the Westphalian Wilhelms-University, Münster, Germany, will take place on 8–10 September 2016. For full details, see:

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Available online now: Human Figurations special issue: Social Character, Historical Processes, Vol.5, Issue 2

Human Figurations Journal’s special issue based on January’s conference dedicated to (still blushing) Stephen Mennell is now available online:*?rgn=full+text

Contents are as follows:

Title Author(s)
Editors’ Introduction: Stephen Mennell – The sociable character Loyal, Steven; Górnicka, Barbara; Liston, Katie
Guides on my way to Elias Goudsblom, Johan
When European Studies Meets The American Civilizing Process: A Short Tribute to Stephen J. Mennell Delmotte, Florence
American exceptionalism? The growth of income and wealth inequality in the United States and other Western societies Wilterdink, Nico
The ‘Standard of Civilisation’ in World Politics Linklater, Andrew
Notes on the Idea of a Nation van Benthem van den Bergh, Godfried
Bourdieu on the state: An Eliasian Critique Loyal, Steven
Functional Democratisation and Disintegration as Side-Effects of Differentiation and Integration Processes Wouters, Cas
Sociological reading of diary fragments 1940–1945 Brinkgreve, Christien; van Daalen, Rineke
The Polish Constitutional Crisis 2015–16: A Figurational Perspective Bucholc, Marta
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Invitation to session with De Swaan, ISA Vienna

Dear Colleagues,
During this ISA Forum of Sociology we are very pleased to invite you to an
Encounter with Abram des Swaan on his sociological monograph:
“The Killing Compartments. The Mentality of Mass Murder” (Yale, 2015).
wich will take place on Thursday, July 14th from 13:30 to 15:00 at the
historical Café Landtmann (Address: Universitätsring 4, Vienna).
Organized by: Dieter Reicher –
Ilan Lew –
Assoz.Prof.Dr. Dieter Reicher
Institut für Soziologie
Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
Universitätsstraße 15
A-8010 Graz
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History of urbanisation

Ryan Powell recommends this “impressive visualisation of the history of urbanisation” as of interest to figurationists:

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Figurations Newsletter is going digital

Future issues of the Figurations newsletter will no longer be printed in hard copy and posted to subscribers. The Board of the Norbert Elias Foundation was reluctant to abandon printing, but in the end financial considerations won out: the cost will be reduced by four-fifths.

Starting with issue number 45, subscribers will receive their copy by email, in the form of a PDF file. As well as those on the postal address list, all subscribers to this blog and to the Norbert Elias Facebook page will receive Figurations automatically. If you do NOT want to receive the newsletter, please notify me at the following email address:

Figurations 45 would normally be sent to you in July, but we are still in the throes of compiling the consolidated email distribution list, so publication will be delayed this time.


Managing Editor

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The Mediated Construction of Reality: Recovering Elias for Media Theory

Lecture by Professor Nick Couldry (LSE)

Discussant: Professor Giselinde Kuipers (UvA)

Date: Friday, May 27

Time: 15:00-16:30

Location: REC, Room B2.08

In this talk Nick Couldry will outline the project of his recently completed book, The Mediated Construction of Reality (Polity 2016, co-written with Andreas Hepp). You can find excerpts on Couldry’s website. The book offers a critical reevaluation and rearticulation of the social constructivist ambitions of Berger and Luckmann’s 1966 book The Social Construction of Reality while radically rethinking the implications of this for a world saturated not just with digital media, but with data processes. The talk will outline how a materialist phenomenology can draw not just on traditional phenomenology, but on the social theory of Norbert Elias, particularly his concept of figurations, to address the challenges of social analysis in the face of datafication. Elias, he will argue is a particularly important theorist on whom to draw in making social constructivism ready to face the deep embedding of the social world with digital technologies, and more than that, to outline the challenges for social order of such a world.

Speaker bio: Nick Couldry is a sociologist of media and culture. He is Professor of Media Communications and Social Theory, and Head of the Department of Media and Communications, at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author or editor of twelve books including most recently The Mediated Construction of Reality (with Andreas Hepp, Polity, forthcoming 2016), Ethics of Media  (2013 Palgrave, coedited with Mirca Madianou and Amit Pinchevski), Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice (Polity 2012) and Why Voice Matters: Culture and Politics After Neoliberalism (Sage 2010).


The lecture is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

For more information contact Justus Uitermark (

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Breaking News from the ISA

We have just been notified that the Executive Committee of the International Sociological Association has approved the upgrading of Working Group 02 (Historical and Comparative Sociology) to the status of full Research Committee, under the title ‘Historical Sociology’.

For those unfamiliar with the Byzantine world of the ISA, the word ‘upgrading’ requires explanation. Within the ISA, there is a four-level hierarchy. From the 1994 World Congress in Bielefeld, figurational sociologists organised sessions in an Ad Hoc Group, the lowest and most temporary status; at every World Congress from then until Gothenburg in 2010 (apart from Durban in 2006) we had to re-apply for Ad Hoc sessions. At Gothenburg, we merged with the Thematic Group on Historical and Comparative Sociology, led by our friends Manuela Boatca and the late Willfried Spohn (for whose obituary, see Figurations 37), who had already taken one step up the ladder. Together we became a Working Group (rung three); now we have reached the dizzying height of full Research Committee.

The title ‘Historical Sociology’ is perhaps not ideal from an Eliasian point of view. Norbert Elias himself always denied that he was ‘an historical sociologist’ – both because all sociology needs to be historical, in the sense that in his view time is always one axis of any sociological explanation, and because ‘historical sociology’ should thus not be seen as just one of many subdivisions of the discipline. Nevertheless, ‘Historical Sociology’ was the title available within the ISA: there is already RC 20 Comparative Sociology, of which many figurational sociologists are already members.

Actually, it is remarkable that there has never before been an ISA section on Historical Sociology, considering that in its origins sociology was historical sociology. Nina Baur recently suggested to me that a better title would have been ‘History and Social Processes’, but it is too late now. I think we can take pride in this final upgrading and in this title. I hope that many readers of this blog will become members of the new Research Committee.

At the ISA Forum in Vienna in July, I shall step down as President. But Robert van Krieken is the sole nominee to continue as Vice-President, and Paddy Dolan the sole nominee to succeed Manuela as Secretary/Treasurer.

Stephen Mennell

President, ISA WG 02

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