Norbert Elias, Essays III: On Sociology and the Humanities (Dublin: UCD Press, 2009 [Collected Works, vol. 16]), edited by Richard Kilminster and Stephen Mennell. 312 pp. ISBN: 978-1-906359-03-4. €48.00.
The latest volume in the Collected Works contains a total of 28 essays on a wide range of topics, more than half of them never before published in English. These are marked with an asterisk in the following list of contents:
*1 ‘Figurations’, and
*2 ‘Social processes’, both of them entries for a dictionary of sociology published in 1986
*3 ‘Towards a theory of social processes’ (previously published in a back-translation from the German, but this is the first publication of Elias’s original English text)
*4 ‘Social processes on multiple levels’
5 ‘On the sociogenesis of sociology’
6 ‘The break with traditionalism: report on the discussion’ (report of a session at the 1962 World Congress of Sociology in Washington DC)
7 ‘Group charisma and group disgrace’
*8 ‘Address on Adorno; respect and critique’ (Elias’s speech on accepting the first Theodor W. Adorno Prize of the City of Frankfurt, 1977)
*9 ‘Sociology in danger: the case for the reorientation of a discipline’
*10 ‘A diagnosis of present-day sociology’
11 ‘The retreat of sociologists into the present’
12 ‘The concept of everyday life’
*13 ‘The story of the shoelaces: a sociologist on his travels’
*14 ‘Social anxieties’
15 ‘On human beings and their emotions’
16 ‘Sociology and psychiatry’
*17 ‘Civilisation and psychosomatics’
18 Foreword to The Sociology of Sport
*19 ‘Football in the process of civilisation’
*20 ‘Pigeon racing’, c. 1967 – a real oddity: from the typescript of an article co-authored with Eric Dunning, which Eric believes to be have been published but cannot recall where, and which the skills of several university librarians have failed to locate.
21 ‘African Art’ – the introduction to the catalogue for the exhibition of his collection of African art that was mounted in Leicester in 1970
*22 ‘Stages of African Art: social and visual’ – from an unpublished typescript dating from 1975
*23 ‘Some remarks on the problem of work’, 1984.
25 ‘The changing balance of power between the sexes’
*26 ‘Where two people come together in lawful matrimony …’, foreword to Michael Schröter’s book Wo zwei zusammenkomm in rechte Ehe …, 1985
*27 Foreword to Women torn two ways – Bram van Stolk and Cas Wouters’s book Vrouwen in tweestrijd, 1983
28 ‘Renate Rubinstein’
An appendix also contains the text of a letter to the editor of The Listener, 6 November 1958, responding to a review of volume 5 of Edward Hallet Carr’s History of Soviet Russia. This letter came to light after the volume went to the typesetter!
Like previous volumes in the series, this has been very carefully edited and annotated to improve the readability of the texts: sadly, it appears that the first editions of most of Elias’s works in English escaped the attentions of competent copy-editors, a lacuna that has now been remedied.
Especially because of the higher standard to which these volumes have been produced, which makes Elias’s texts much more accessible both to students and scholars, it is important that they find their way into university libraries throughout the world.
You can buy copies of the volumes at a discount of 20 per cent on the published price, if you order direct from the publisher, via the website: www.ucdpress.ie.
Previously published volumes in the series are:
1 Early Writings (2006)
2 The Court Society (2006)
4 Norbert Elias and John L. Scotson, The Established and the Outsiders (2008)
7 Norbert Elias and Eric Dunning, Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilising Process (2008)
8 Involvement and Detachment (2007)
9 An Essay on Time (2007)
15 Norbert Elias, Essays II: On Civilising Processes, State Formation and National Identity (2008)
Supplementary volume: The Genesis of the Naval Profession (2007)
The next in the series to appear, scheduled for summer 2009, is volume 14, Essays I: On the Sociology of Knowledge and the Sciences, again edited by Richard Kilminster and Stephen Mennell.