HII and UCD Press Workshop on Norbert Elias

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Norbert Elias (1897-1990) described himself as a sociologist, but his writings extend well beyond the discipline of sociology as it is now institutionalised in universities. Indeed his work seems to appeal especially to scholars working in the interstices of many disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.

Most famous for his theory of 'civilising processes', Elias also wrote about sport, art, literature, death and dying, violence, Mozart, utopias, time, courtly life, international relations and many other topics. Above all, he advanced a 'post-philosophical' that is, sociological theory of knowledge and the sciences, which charts a course 'between the Scylla of philosophical absolutism and the Charybdis of sociological relativism'.

Stephen Mennell is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at UCD, one of Elias?s literary executors, and General Editor of the Collected Works of Norbert Elias in English, currently being published in 18 volumes by UCD Press (see www.ucdpress.ie).

The workshop will assume no prior knowledge of Elias's work, but if participants wish to do some preliminary reading, they could dip into any of the following books:

  • Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process, rev. edn (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000). [A definitive edition will appear in 2012 under the title On the Process of Civilisation, as vol. 3 of the Collected Works.]
  • Norbert Elias, Essays I: On the Sociology of Knowledge and the Sciences (Dublin: UCD Press, 2009 [Collected Works, vol. 14]).
  • Norbert Elias, Essays III: On Sociology and the Humanities (Dublin: UCD Press, 2009 [Collected Works, vol. 16].
  • Norbert Elias, Mozart and Other Essays on Courtly Art (Dublin: UCD Press, 2010 [Collected Works, vol. 12]).
  • Stephen Mennell, Norbert Elias: An Introduction, rev. edn (Dublin: UCD Press, 1998).