You are warmly invited to attend a special two-day conference: The Sociology of Sociology in Long-term Perspective: A conference in honour of Richard Kilminster, to be held at the University of Leeds, where Richard has worked since the 1970s.
Richard Kilminster has made a profound and unique contribution to the field of sociology on a number of levels, but particularly through his extensive research and writings on the sociology of knowledge. In a period of interdisciplinary and fragmentation within the broader social sciences as well as in sociology, Richard has contributed to a synoptic understanding of the development of sociology, to maintaining its grounding as a ‘post-philosophical’ discipline and to an awareness of the importance of a historical perspective in understanding the developmental nature of knowledge. Central here is Richard’s long-standing engagement with figurational or process sociology and his consistent promotion and dissemination of Norbert Elias’s “workable synthesis”. In this regard, Richard has been a key figure in securing a broader understanding of Elias’s legacy. For example, through his Editorship of The Symbol Theory and his role as Chair of the Editorial Advisory Group in the production of the English edition of the Collected Works of Norbert Elias in 18 volumes, published by University College Dublin Press in conjunction with the Norbert Elias Foundation in Amsterdam. There are few scholars remaining globally who are pursuing similar important lines of inquiry or who have the breadth and depth of theoretical knowledge to do so. This makes his distinctive contribution all the more important in ensuring a bridge from classical to contemporary sociology for a younger generation of sociologists.
Yet Richard’s body of work has not received the recognition it warrants. This conference will mark his unique contribution and will be held at the University of Leeds, where Richard has worked since the 1970s. As well as a celebration of Richard’s unique contribution, secondary aims of the conference include: ensuring Richard’s legacy in terms of reaffirming the centrality of the sociology of knowledge to the future of the discipline; and the continued dissemination of Elias’s ideas on the relationship between knowledge, social process and power.
The conference is funded by the Norbert Elias foundation. We are very grateful for their generous support. We would also like to thank the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at The University of Leeds and The Department of Urban Studies and Planning at The University of Sheffield for their contributions to the event.