Thinking With Elias: Norbert Elias and Social Research

7th-10th of June 2021

The Norbert Elias Foundation and European Centerfor the Study of Culture and Inequality (ECCI) are organizing an online PhD workshop ‘Thinking With Elias: Norbert Elias and Social Research’ to be held the 7th to 10th of June, 2021.

The event will bring together featured scholars who draw upon the work of Norbert Elias and doctoral students already familiar with the basics of figurational sociology. Building on previous highly successful PhD workshops held in Amsterdam and Brussels covering the fundamentals of Elias’s approach to sociology, this workshop will enable participants to engage with Elias’s contributions to the analysis of various theoretical and empirical problems at a relatively advanced level, and to relate those to their own fields of interest.

Participants will be provided with relevant readings, video materials and dedicated podcast episodes prepared exclusively for this workshop. The online workshop itself will span four days. The first three days will comprise online seminars that include interviews and moderated discussions with featured Eliasian scholars. On the fourth day, students will present their work, reflecting upon how ideas discussed in the workshop can be related to their own research. The workshop also includes possibilities for one-to-one consultations and informal discussions. Possible topics to be covered in the workshop include – but are not limited to! – the following:

  1. The ‘global civilizing process’ – international relations, harm and violence in world politics.
  2. The American civilizing process – (dis-)similar state formation processes in Europe and the USA?
  3. Sociogenetic and psychogenetic aspects of global normative orders – the process of human rights.
  4. From formalization to informalization – changes in we-I-balance and processes of controlled decontrolling.
  5. Celebrity society and the transformation of the public sphere – court society in the age of mass media.
  6. Processes of state formation and the sociogenesis of institutions – insights from Elias’s study on the genesis of the naval profession.
  7. Longer-term trends in family life and emotional management: the civilizing of parents.
  8. Civilizing process and gender inequality: revisiting ‘The changing balance of power between the sexes.’
  9. Further developments of Elias’s central theory: ‘relational turn’ in sociology.
  10. Ecology, civilizing and decivilizing processes.
  11. Imagined communities, nation-formation, and habitus – understanding the age of anger.
  12. Research methods – examining the conceptual and practical issues drawing on process-figurational sociology in empirical research.
  13. Studying media in/as figurations: using process sociology to analyze mediated interactions and processes of mediazation and datafication.

The workshop is designed for advanced PhD students, but may also be useful for early career postdocs. It has been planned, and will be led, by Jason Hughes, Robert van Krieken, Giselinde Kuipers, Stephen Mennell and Robert Rode; others may also be recruited to discuss particular topics.

To be considered for participation in the workshop, please apply with (a) a short description (300–500 words) of your research; (b) how your project relates, or could relate, to the figurational sociology of Norbert Elias; (c) an indication of the topic that would be of most interest to you. Here we also invite you to draw attention to any other topic not on the above list which would be useful for your research. Send your application, including your full name, affiliation, and contact information, to Anastasiya Halauniova: by 10 March 2021.

The reading lists for the workshop are available here: Readings Workshop Elias