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March 2022: Long-Term Processes in Human History: A Tribute to Johan Goudsblom

Conference in Amsterdam, 17-19 March 2022

Throughout his scholarly life, sociologist Johan Goudsblom (1932–2020) was occupied with the study of long-term social processes. For him, ‘historical sociology’ was not a special branch of sociology, but at the core of sociology in general. Recognizing the work of Norbert Elias as providing the foundations for a new, dynamic, processual and developmental approach in sociology and elaborating on Elias’s theory of civilizing processes, Goudsblom also aimed to go ‘beyond Elias’ by extending the scope of study to human history as a whole. Throughout his work, he synthesized sociology, anthropology, history, and evolutionary theory, transgressing disciplinary boundaries. Goudsblom’s work can be regarded as part of an intellectual movement to integrate history, the social sciences and the natural sciences in order to enhance our understanding of human social life from a long-term perspective.

As a tribute to Goudsblom’s work, an international conference will be held in Amsterdam 17–19 March 2022, which will deal with basic problems concerning the explanation and understanding of long-term social processes. The approach will be theoretical, aiming at generalisations and explanations, rather than descriptive, although preference will be given to contributions in which the theorizing is firmly grounded in empirical data.

Keynote speakers are, among others, David Christian, Giselinde Kuipers, Randall Collins, Nina Baur, John McNeill and Richard Sennett. The conference will be held in the Trippenhuis, home of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), in the centre of Amsterdam.

All scholars and students who are interested in Goudsblom’s work and the study of long-term social processes are invited to participate in the conference, whether by presenting a paper, as a discussant, or simply to join the audience and hear the proceedings – all are welcome.

To see the full programme, click here. To see the plenary sessions on 17, 18 and 19 March, as well as some of the paper presentations, click here.