Reinventing Elias: Short Intensive PhD Course

06Nov2017 07Nov2017

Course

A Short Intensive Course on Process Sociology and Relational Sociology will be presented on Monday 6 November and Tuesday 7 November, by Robert van Krieken (University of Sydney) and Bart van Heerikhuizen (University of Amsterdam).

There will be three 2-hour sessions per day, from 9:30 to 16:30, with each with 2-hour session divided in half between a lecture and discussion, and with a 1-hour lunch break - 12:30-13:30.

On Monday the central ideas of Process Sociology will be presented: the basic concepts, the methodological implications, the problems and challenges that a principled relational sociology is faced with, and Elias’s very distinctive analysis of the process of civilization, as an alternative to ‘modernization’ or ‘rationalization’ theories.

On Tuesday we will turn first to the analysis of the continuing forms of violence in the contemporary world, and how they can be understood as processes of decivilization and the ‘barbarism of civilization’. We then move to outline the fruitfulness of the overall process sociological approach in illuminating current issues, examining the idea of “celebrity society as court society in the age of the modern mass media”.

The final 2-hour meeting will devoted to exploring how students’ own research projects can be examined in the context of these theoretical perspectives, ideas and arguments.

Presenting your own work is not a precondition for participating in this course, but we do invite those wishing to attend the Short Intensive Course to indicate whether they want to discuss their own research in this final session. If you would find it useful to discuss your own research questions and findings in this context, please indicate the topic under consideration, so that the presentations in the most appropriate sequence. If many participants want to present and discuss their work in this course, the program on Tuesday can be adjusted to make room for an extra time slot. Please send an email indicating your subject matter to b.vanheerikhuizen@uva.nl.

All the readings will be made available to enrolled students beforehand. In preparation for the course, we also encourage you to view the video lectures on Elias by Bart van Heerikhuizen on Youtube.

Preliminary programme and reading

1. Monday 6 November

1.1 Basic Concepts in Process Sociology

  • Elias, N. 1995 [1986]. ‘Figuration’ in Schäfers, B. (ed.) Grundbegriffe der Soziologie. Opladen: Leske en Budrich.
  • Elias, N. 1995 [1986]. ‘Soziale Prozesse’ in Schäfers, B. (ed.) Grundbegriffe der Soziologie. Opladen: Leske en Budrich.
  • Elias, N. 1995 [1986]. ‘Zivilisation’ in Schäfers, B. (ed.) Grundbegriffe der Soziologie. Opladen: Leske en Budrich.
  • Elias, N. 1991. The Society of Individuals. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, Part I, pp. 9-62

1.2 Forget about agency-structure! How to bridge the micro-macro-divide

  • Elias, N. 1987. ‘The retreat of sociologists into the present’. Theory, Culture & Society 4: 223-47.
  • Emirbayer, M. 1997. ‘Manifesto for a relational sociology’. American Journal of Sociology 103: 281-317.
  • van Krieken, R. 2001. ‘Norbert Elias and process sociology’ in Ritzer, G. and Smart, B. (eds.) The Handbook of Social Theory. London: Sage, ,pp. 353-67.

1.3 What is Civilization?

  • Elias, N. 2008. ‘Power and Civilisation’. Journal of Power 1: 135-42.
  • Elias, N. 2000. The Civilizing Process: Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations. Oxford: Blackwell, ‘Social constraint to self-constraint’,, pp. 365-447
  • Huntington, S.P. 1993. ‘The Clash of Civilizations?’. Foreign Affairs 72: 22-49.

2. Tuesday 7 November

2.1 From civilization to decivilization

  • Fletcher, J. 1997. Violence and Civilization. Cambridge: Polity, pp.  148-75.
  • van Krieken, R. 1998. ‘What Does It Mean to Be Civilized? Norbert Elias on the Germans and Modern Barbarism’. Communal / Plural 6: 225-233.
  • de Swaan, A. 1997. ‘Widening Circles of Disidentification: On the Psycho- and Sociogenesis of the Hatred of Distant Strangers-Reflections on Rwanda’. Theory, Culture & Society 14: 105-122.

2.2 Court Society: Discipline and the Self/Court Society in the Age of Mass Media

  • Elias, N. 1983. The Court Society. Oxford: Basil Blackwell,, pp. 86-126.
  • Mills, C.W. 1957. The Power Elite. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 71-93.
  • van Krieken, R. 2012, Celebrity Society, London: Routledge, ‘From fame to celebrity: The celebritization of society’, pp. 15-39.

2.3 Presentations by the course participants

Presentations by a selection of those who attended the course linking their PhD research projects to the ideas and arguments covered in the course. The topics will be announced shortly.

Information and registration

For registration and questions please refer to Robert van Krieken or Bart van Heerikhuizen

Organisers

The course is organised by the Kring Amsterdamse Sociologen (the Alumni Association of Amsterdam Sociologists) and the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research.

Location 6 November: REC-C3.04

  • Roeterseilandcampus - building B/C/D (entrance B/C)

    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166 | 1018 WV Amsterdam
    Building B: +31 (0)20 525 5340 | Building C: +31 (0)20 525 5470

    Go to detailpage

Location 7 November: REC-C1.05

  • Roeterseilandcampus - building B/C/D (entrance B/C)

    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166 | 1018 WV Amsterdam
    Building B: +31 (0)20 525 5340 | Building C: +31 (0)20 525 5470

    Go to detailpage

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