Human Figurations 6: 1 – Contents of latest issue

Title Author(s)
Editor’s Introduction Liston, Katie
Apologia pro vita sociologica sua: social character and historical process, and why I became an Eliasian sociologist Mennell, Stephen
The sociogenesis of terrorism as part of English–Irish relations during the nineteenth century Dunning, Michael
On the Habitual Dimension of Problems of Democratisation; Using the Example of Egypt after the Arab Spring Alikhani, Behrouz
The Cooley-Elias-Goffman Theory Scheff, Thomas
Informalisation and Evolution: Four Phases in the Development of Steering Codes Wouters, Cas

Dr Barbara Górnicka


Human Figurations Journal  

E-issn: 2166-6644

Published by MPublishing, University of Michigan Library

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Memorial Service for Bruce Mazlish

A memorial service for Bruce Mazlish will be held on Thursday 20 April at 13.00 EST in the Samberg Conference Centre, 6th Floor, 50 Memorial Drive, Cambridge MA. Any readers of this blog in the greater Boston area may like to attend.

Bruce Mazlish died in November 206 at the age of 93. He taught history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology over six decades. He sought to bridge the sciences and humanities, and his publications ranged widely, from psychohistory and the history of the social sciences to what he called “the new global history”. He was a long-term admirer of the work of Norbert Elias, and gave me great encouragement when I was writing my book The American Civilizing Process.

The New York Times obituary focused especially on Bruce’s celebrated biography of Richard Nixon: see


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Cambio CfP: Is (historical) sociology Eurocentric?

CAMBIO. Rivista sulle trasformazioni sociali – Number 13, June 2017

For the Review’s monographic section we will consider theoretical and empirical research contributions on the topic:

Is (historical) sociology Eurocentric?

Nation building, European integration and cosmopolitanism: critical and normative visions

Edited by Florence Delmotte (Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles)

From precursors Marx and Tocqueville up to contemporaries like Stefano Bartolini (Restructuring Europe, 2005) via classics (Weber, Geertz and Elias, Tilly, Wallerstein or Anderson), historical sociology of the modern political has always had much to do with Europe. Almost by definition: is not the nation state born in Europe? Sociologists, be they comparativist or not, have been searching for avoiding evolutionism legated by the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries’ social theorists Marx and Comte as well as Spencer or Durkheim. However, (historical) sociology, even when closer to idiographic approaches rather than to nomothetic sociology, is often suspected of (at least unintentional) Eurocentrism.

This issue proposes to take seriously this criticism and to test it by questioning the visions of Europe and Cosmopolitanism that stems from classic or from current socio-historical analyses in sociology, political science and EU studies. It centrally aims at tackling these issues: Does the historical sociology entail specific normative visions of Europe and of “post-national constellations” (Habermas, 2000)? To what extent does it propose “critical” views (Delanty, 2006) on trans-nationalisation processes at work from 1945 and on the scepticism that followed?

The issue is open to empirical and theoretical issues as such:

  • Does the legacy of classics in contemporary figures of historical sociology entail specific normative and critical visions about the future of European societies, in the frame of EU and beyond? What about the role of human rights, for instance?
  • How (historical) sociology has recently been impacting EU studies and national case studies, notably in matter of Euroscepticism?

Finally, how could we gain analytical leverage from the links between sociology, law, history and political philosophy in order to tackle cosmopolitan issues?

The editors are also interested in evaluating contributions to the Journal’s non-thematic area, which includes the Sections Eliasian Themes, Essays and Researches, and Contributions. They also invite profiles, reviews and recommendations of books, essays and scientific events. The invitation to participate in the selection is intended for researchers from all fields of the social sciences, with no preference for particular theoretical or methodological approaches. The texts – unpublished and not submitted simultaneously for evaluation by other journals – must be sent by march 31st, 2017, to the editors, in docx, doc, or rtf format, according to the Indications for authors published on our website, at:

The editors determine the publishability of contributions on the basis of the opinions of anonymous referees, in accordance with the double-blind peer review formula. Exception is made only for articles in the Comments section.

The editors will inform authors of the outcome of the referee decisions, and hence acceptance or not of the article within a month after its submission. The texts sent must be between 30,000 and 50,000 characters (spaces and bibliographical references included). There must also be attached: a) a brief biographical note (approximately 600 characters, spaces included) must contain information about the university/institution of membership, research topics pursued, projects in progress, and major publications; b) a short abstract in English, in which the gist of the article is indicated in a clear and concise manner; c) some keywords (3 to 6, at the close of the English abstract) in order to recap with extreme brevity the subjects treated.

Contact for further information






























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ESA Athens 29 August–1 September 2017

Steve Loyal will be attending the European Sociological Association’s 13th Annual Conference in Athens in August. He would like to know whether any other readers of this blog will be there. If you are attending, please contact Steve directly at

The theme of the conference is “(Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities”. Further details at:

13th Conference 2017


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Death of Andy Furlong

It is my great sadness to inform the readers of this blog that Professor Andy Furlong of the University of Glasgow died aged 60 on Monday 30th January. Andy was a student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Leicester. He was much influenced by the ideas of Elias, and used these throughout his distinguished career, including in the highly influential book he published with Fred Cartmel, Young People and Social Change (1997). In more recent work together with John Goodwin and Henrietta O’Connor, Andy returned again to Elias in the book Young People in the Labour Market: Past, Present and Future (Routledge 2017). A fuller account of his work and impact on the field can be found here:

Andy was well known in figurational circles, particularly by Eliasians connected with the Leicester department. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his family.

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Call to propose RC/WG/TG SESSIONs, ISA World Congress, Toronto 1018

Dear Colleagues:

The Call to propose RC/WG/TG SESSIONs for the world congress in Toronto is
online, with the system open for submissions until March 15, 2017:

RC/WG/TG boards have then about three weeks to finalize their list of proposed sessions for the Call for Papers until April 7,2017.   –

Individual paper abstracts can then be submitted until September 30, 2017.

–  Full Guidelines for Program Coordinators are at

Please don’t hesitate to let me know of any questions.

Best regards and wishes,
Markus S. Schulz, PhD
Vice-President for Research, International Sociological Association (ISA)
and President of the ISA Forum 2016
Currently at:
New School for Social Research
Department of Sociology
6 E 16 St, 9th Fl.
New York, NY 10003, USA
Phone: +917.657 50 32

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Booking Open: Symposium in Honour of Professor Eric Dunning

I’m pleased to announce that booking is now open for the Symposium in Honour of Professor Eric Dunning on the 4th March 2017.

Please click here:

Booking should be pretty straightforward. But please be sure to select the right package. The ‘Full’ package (Package A) includes accommodation for Friday and Saturday. The ‘Saturday Residential’ package (Package B) includes accommodation for Saturday night only. The ‘Saturday Day’ package (package C) is for those not planning to stay over.

Even if you’re just planning to come for some of the day on Saturday, you’ll need to book. So please do so asap.

N.B. In the booking screen, it will prompt to ask if you plan to stay for dinner on Saturday evening. Please click yes if you plan to stay. This is the meal that will be funded by the Elias Foundation as per previous correspondence on this event.

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New Book: Children of the Welfare State

Children of the Welfare State: Civilising Practices in Schools, Childcare and Families

By Laura Gilliam and Eva Gulløv

Children of the Welfare State explores the civilizing projects of children’s institutions under the auspices of the welfare state. By combining sociologist Norbert Elias’ concept of civilising with a detailed ethnographic study of everyday practices in schools, day care institutions and families, the authors offer an original contribution to the anthropology of children, education and the welfare state.

Focusing on Denmark, a country characterised by the extent of time children spend in public care, the book looks at the extraordinary amount of attention and effort put into the process of upbringing by professionals and parents. Investigating a sequential range of children’s institutions, the authors analyse the ideals of proper conduct and examine how children of different age, gender, ethnicity and social backgrounds experience and react to these norms and efforts.

The analysis demonstrates that children’s institutions, though employing a strong egalitarian ideal, create distinctions between social groups, teach children about moral hierarchies in society and prompt them to identify as more or less civilised citizens of the state.


Laura Gilliam is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Anthropology, School of Education, at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.

Eva Gulløv is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Anthropology, School of Education, at the University of Aarhus, Denmark & Professor at the Department of Education, University of Agder, Norway.


‘This detailed empirical study of how Danish children are brought up, or ‘civilised’ – whether within families or public institutions – is a major contribution to our understanding of Scandinavian welfare states, a powerful argument for the role of ethnography in comparative policy debates, and a must-read for anyone interested in childhood.’

Richard Jenkins, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Sheffield


Read an extract from the book here:

Buy the book from the UK publisher:

Buy the book in the United States:

Buy the book in Canada:

Want an inspection copy for your course? Visit

Want a book for review? Email the publisher’s publicity team at

Sign up to the Pluto Press newsletter for new books, news and events:


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Film Première: Pioneers of Group Analysis

The première of a new film, Pioneers of Group Analysis will take place in London on Sunday 15 January at 16:00 at:

Royal Society of Medicine,
Guy Whittle Auditorium,
1 Wimpole Street,
London, W1G 0AE.
(Nearest tube: Bond Street or Oxford Street Station)

The poster doesn’t specifically mention Elias, but one of the main raconteurs in the film is Malcolm Pines, who, I know, well remembers participating in early meetings with him.

For further details and to book on-line, please follow this link:

Stephen Mennell

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Eric Dunning’s 80th birthday: celebratory symposium

4 March, 2017, College Court, Leicester

This event is will be a relaxed and informal gathering to celebrate Eric Dunning’s 80th birthday, and also to use it as an event recognising his outstanding contribution to sociology. Sessions will be relatively short, allowing plenty of opportunities for informal chats over coffee (there’s a breakout coffee lounge) and of course, food and drinks together in the evening.

Among other things, it is hoped to show a DVD of a lecture by Eric on varieties of catharsis and other aspects of sport, and perhaps the 1975 Dutch documentary about Norbert Elias.

Provisional programme:

Friday 3rd March (For those who wish to stay Friday night. Evening arrival, College Court, drinks and bite to eat in the Craddock).

Saturday 4th March
Breakfast at College Court (for those who stayed over Friday evening).

11.00–1.00 Informal Meeting

1.00–2.30 Lunch and Coffee

2.30–5.00 Informal Meeting

6.00 Evening Meal and Drinks

Sunday 5th March
Breakfast at College Court and depart.

Please contact Jason Hughes ( if you would like to attend

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