Richard Kilminster on the Sociological Revolution and the spiral development of SociologyThat summer morning, Richard and I were discussing the subject of theory development in sociology. As many says, the "golden age" of sociology was before the First World War. Richard is more optimistic in stating that it is still to come. However, in recent years, theoretical debates have not reached the same level of liveliness they had in the beginnings of Sociology. It has expanded to include new topics, but recent sociological approaches lack a comparable ability to synthesize. I contradicted and defended contemporary sociology, which led to a lively debate.
We discuss Richard's thesis of a crescent development of possible sociology debates, the influences of other disciplines and the potential future of sociology in the multitude of scientific disciplines.
Andrew Linklater: "Symbols"In his lecture, Andrew Linklater speaks about the meaning of symbols.
"I am not a sociologist. My background is in Political Sociology". Societies have always had problems controlling their conflict resolution capacities. Certain groups in society, such as women and children, were excluded from the violence. Jonathan Fletcher, in his book on Violence and Civilisation, portrayed this uniquely. Elias also uses the example of German society in his book "On Germans". Elias answered this political science question in a sociological way. He interpreted it as part of a civilising process.
The question is, what symbols form in societies to create identity-building symbols to rule out harmful behaviour? The existence of such symbols seems to be significant for the level of development of a community.
Jason Hughes: Researching the Human SocietyThis shot shows a doctoral workshop held by Jason Hughes in July 2019. He explains how Norbert Elias' work differed from other researchers. According to Jason, Elias challenged the whole concept of sociological theory by turning theoretical questions into researchable forms. This argument is discussed in exchange with the audience.
We apologise for the poor sound quality.
Remembering Joop GoudsblomWith great sadness, we have to report that our friend Johan Goudsblom, co-founder and longtime chairman of the Board (1983–2017) of the Norbert Elias Foundation, died on 17 March.
In this video, we remember him and look back on his life.
John Goodwin: Doing Things Differently"As Sociologists, we spend far too much time talking about other people doing Sociology."
In this lecture, which John gave in a workshop that took place at the University of Leicester in summer 2019, he talks about practical sociology. He explains the tools with the help of which sociologists go into the research field. He advocates understanding sociology as a "creative practice".
10:32 on George Orwell
14:04 on CW Mills
14:37 on Pearl Jeffcott
15:12 on Alan Bryman
21:02 on the method of Norbert Elias
23:56 on the method of CW Mills
37:05 on the method of Pearl Jeffcott
Q&A starts at 48:01
Richard Kilminster on Norbert EliasRichard Kilminster (* 1943) is a British sociologist who worked for a long time at the University of Leeds. He had been friends with Norbert Elias since the 1970s, studied his works and published extensively on them. In addition to his exceptionally meritorious participation in the creation of the Collected Works, his book "Norbert Elias: Post-Philosophical Sociology" (2007) is a significant reinterpretation of Norbert Elias' work.
In the interview, we talk about his career, his experiences with Norbert Elias, and how he contributed to making Elias's works better known. In the end we talk about the classification of Elias' work in other theoretical approaches and the role of Elisian sociology in the present.
Abram de Swaan: Rightists’ and Jihadists’ Reactions to Women’s EmancipationThe lecture was given on December 5, 2018, at the Elias conference in Brussels.
The book mentioned is now published as "Tegen de vrouwen. De wereldwijde strijd van rechtsisten en jihadisten tegen de emancipatie" (Prometheus 2019)
The extreme and ‘alternative’ right are increasingly present on the internet and more and more also in extreme rightwing parties and in militant groups. Jihadist groups such as ISIS have suffered severe defeat but have by no means disappeared. Although the Islamists and the rightists hate each other passionately, they agree on quite a few issues.
One among those is their shared resistance to women’s emancipation. Decoding their key concepts of ‘Volk’ (Nation) and Caliphate respectively reveals their staunch defense of women’s subordination within traditional family roles. Their advocacy of violent struggle and their insistence on the differences between men and women go against the tenets of pacification and increasing equality, essential elements of the civilizing process.
But are rightists and jihadists, with their insistence on ’natural’ order and harmony, contributing to processes of ‘decivilization’? Or should their visions of society to come be considered as a conception of a different civilizing process, in which arrangements by choice and negotiation are abandoned in favor of arrangements conforming to an imposed religious or moral order?
Andrew Linklater: Symbols and World PoliticsThe actual lecture begins at 03:10. It was held at the 2018 Elias Conference "Global Interdependencies" in Brussels.
Current global problems and challenges that are intertwined with lengthening and deepening social networks raise a central question for the current era – whether human groups can agree on symbols that enable them to exercise greater control over the forces that bind them together. The recent resurgence of national-populist movements, ideologies and symbols underline the scale of the challenge in creating global or cosmopolitan symbols. What are the prospects for closer international cooperation if efforts to change the balance of power between symbols ultimately fail?
Opening of the 2018 Elias Conference "Global Interdependencies"The video shows the opening session of the 2018 Brussels conference. On the podium from left to right: Jason Hughes (Norbert Elias Foundation), Stephen Mennell (Professor Emeritus, UCD), Barbara Górnicka (University College Dublin), Florence Delmotte (Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique-FNRS/Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles).
First Florence Delmotte introduces the program and the background of the conference, then Jason Hughes (9:35) thanks for organising the conference to Florence and explains the new Fellow scheme of the Elias Foundation. Barbara Górnicka (11:20) expresses her joy about the broad range of contribution to the conference. Stephen Mennell (13:18) emphasises the continuity of the event in the series of numerous previous gatherings. The discussion begins at 34:45.
Stephen Mennell: The Superpower. Using Elias to think about American historyIn this talk, Stephen Mennell presents the central theses of his book on America. (The American Civilizing Process, ISBN 978-0745632094) He interprets American Cultural History from an Elisian point of view and explains why more researchers on American Sociological topics should have a look at the writings of Norbert Elias and his concepts of long-term societal change.
The video was initially recorded in Dublin in 2007.
Norbert Elias and the European Union (lectures by Marta Bucholc and Helmut Kuzmics)The video contains two presentations, that were held directly behind each other on December 7 at the Elias conference in Brussels.
The first presentation by Marta Bucholc examins how the Rule of Law was applied in post-communist societies that today belong to the European Union. Bucholc applies the Figurational Sociology to the case studies Hungary and Poland.
The second presentation by Helmut Kuzmicz (starting after 38 minutes) deals with the case of the Habsburg monarchy and how this power centre failed. Kuzmicz compares its decay with the crisis of multi-ethnic Europe.
Jason Hughes: Memories on Eric DunningJason Hughes gave this very personal speech at the funeral of Eric Dunning.
We have provided English and Spanish subtitles.
Joop Goudsblom - Fire and Fuel in the Human Civilizing ProcessThe lecture took place at The Norbert Elias Conference in Brussels (Université Saint-Louis) on December 6th 2018.
In his lecture, Joop summarises the most important findings of his sociology of the cultural history of fire. He explains how he came up with the inspiration for his famous book on fire, how an audience accepted the book, and what reactions he experienced. Finally, he looks back on how he changed his perspective on this important subject over time.
Stephen Vertigans "Elisian Insights may train you for a variety of jobs"In the interview, Stephen speaks about his approach of an Eliasian method and how he himself transformed from being a student of Economics to become finally a valued Professor of Sociology.
He speaks about his personal trouble of funding himself, how he began as a tutor and how he later became able to finance himself.
He speaks about his research on topics as Islamism and terror and how he was able to apply theoretical work of Norbert Elias at very current aspects.
Question & Answer to Richard Kilminster's autobiographical reflectionsThis is a follow-up video to Richard Kilminster's presentation about his life on his 75th birthday. See here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCe3ilpEaHc
Richard Kilminster - On the process of becoming a sociologist: autobiographical reflectionsIn the lecture celebrating his 75th birthday, Richard Kilminster reflected on his life and his intellectual development.
He talks about his studies in Essex, as a student of Norbert Elias in Leicester and most recently his long career at the University of Leeds. He summarises the main focuses of his work and his contribution to the exploration and interpretation of Norbert Elias's sociology.
Funeral of Eric DunningThe video shows the memorial service for Eric Dunning (1936-2019), which took place on Friday 1st March at Great Glen Crematorium.
The film quality is unfortunately not very good. We hope that nonetheless, those who could not be present in person will be able to pick up the touching atmosphere.
Order of Service: ↓
Celebrant Jacqui Tillyard
Opening Music: Fantasia On A Theme
Reading by nephew Nick Dunning: Excerpt from "Under Milk Wood"
Musical Interlude: Strange Meadow Lark
For the text of the tributes by Ivan Waddington, Stephen Mennell, Jason Hughes and Andrew Linklater see http://norbert-elias.com/about-elias-foundation/in-memoriam/#1552662704268-e815dd07-db7e
Reflection Music: Softly, William, Softly
Closing Music: Take Five
Eric's Owl Limerick:
Habits most foul and unsavoury,
Kept the Bishop of Ely in slavery,
Midst chuckles and howls,
He'd deflower little owls,
Which he kept in an underground aviary!
Stephen Mennell - Laudatio on Richard KilminsterThe laudation was held on the celebration of Richard's 75th birthday. It reflects on Richard's life, academic career and successes.
The central focus is on the personal relation Stephen and Richard shared and the concepts, conference presentations and publications, which Richard has produced in a long Eliasian career.
Norbert Elias: The Task of SociologistsElias describes that the central task of Sociology is to get a certain level of understanding of the universe surrounding human beings. Sociologists should try to get more knowledge about problems, which are vital for our living together.
This video is part of a longer documentary on Norbert Elias, which has aired on Dutch Television in the 1970s.
Gina Zabludovsky Kuper on Eliasian Sociology in Latin AmericaGina Kuper (*1954) works at the Centre for Theoretical and Multidisciplinary Studies in Social Sciences of the National University of Mexico.
Gina came in touch with Eliasian sociology back in the 1980s by her academic teacher José María Pérez Gay, who taught a lot about Max Weber. He assigned her to work on Norbert Elias first. She graduated with a doctoral thesis including a chapter on Norbert Elias.
She was involved in making Eliasian works available in the Spanish language and thereby has been inspired by his work in her own research. Gina is recognised for research on women in economic decision-making positions and social movement in Mexico.
She considers the approach of informalisation as an important contribution of Norbert Elias to understand the social situation in Latin America. Middle urban classes form figurations of distinction, which can be analysed by the Eliasian method.
She is the author of fifteen books and about one-hundred articles, many of them following a theoretical approach of Norbert Elias.
Her publications include "Norbert Elias y los problemas actuales de la sociología", " La Escuela de Frankfurt y la crítica a la modernidad" and "Patrimonialismo y modernización. Poder y dominación en la sociología del Oriente de Max Weber".
Norbert Elias: Wishful Thinking"There is no greater task than to find out how we can arrange our lives in such a way that we do not constantly hurt ourselves and also gain as much pleasurable excitement and satisfaction, as we can."
This excerpt from a Dutch television production shows Norbert Elias in his early eighties. He summarises the important task of sociology.
Marc Joly - The Threefold Calling of SociologyLecture held on April 6th 2018 in Leeds.
Marc Joly (*1976) is a French Sociologist and former Norbert Elias Stipend. He is employed at the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.
The video starts with an introduction by Stephen Mennell (until 5:52), then follows the lecture, and finally Question & Answering (beginning at 47:53 ).
Ademir Gebara about his way towards Norbert EliasAdemir Gebara (*1946) is a Brazilian Professor. He studied at the Universidade de São Paulo and the London School of Economics, where he graduated in 1984 with a doctoral degree. He was a Professor for 23 years at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas and a Professor for 14 years at the UNIMEP.
Ademir Gebara has promoted the theory of Norbert Elias in Brazil and has fruitfully applied the method to studies. He has been conducive in organising Elias conferences on the South American continent for two decades and has interceded to the translation of Elias into the Spanish and Portuguese languages. In the interview, we speak about his route towards Norbert Elias theory. Ademir recollects his biographical experience by saying "In a dictatorship, you have to make moments where you are alive." The analysis of society by Elias was an epiphany for him in a dark period of his life. We speak about his biography and educational career, his way of analysing society with the method of Elias, how he conveyed Elias into his teaching activities and how he coined generations of students in this method. Ademir explains to me how, since the 1990s, a larger community emerged that applied Elias for its research approaches. Today, Eliasian theory and practice is used by Brazilian researchers across the country, and the method has supported a wide range of different academic subjects, like sports science, physiology, social history and, of course, sociology.
The interview took place on October 18th in Londrina, Brazil.
Report from the 17th International Symposium on Civilising ProcessesFrom October 16 to 19, 2018 the Elias community met in Londrina, Brazil. The report The report summarizes the topics of the conference and shows moving pictures of the event.
Congress homepage : http://www.simposioelias2018.com.br
Filmed and spoken by A Jitschin
Cut by J Tucker