Elias 25 Years On

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper is essentially a study in the sociology of science. In the natural sciences certainly, but also in the social sciences, the work of even very prominent researchers is often forgotten after their death. This has not happened in the case of Norbert Elias, whose influence has tended rather to increase since his death in 1990. For a school of thought to survive, it has often been noted, it is essential that it has a nucleus of advocates, and also an organisational framework. This essay traces in particular the work of the Norbert Elias Foundation, based in Amsterdam, as Elias’s executors, in promoting Elias’s ideas, and the impact of those ideas on the work of scholars in many parts of the world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-40
JournalHuman Figurations: Longterm perspectives on the human condition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2015

Bibliographical note

Reference text: Aarts, W., J. Goudsblom, K. Schmidt, and F. Spier (1995) Towards a Morality of Moderation: Report for the Dutch National Research Programme on Global Air Pollution and Climate Change. Amsterdam: Amsterdam School for Social Science Research.
Anders, Kenneth (2000) Die unvermeidlicheUniversalgeschichte: Studienüber Norbert Elias und das Teleologieproblem. Opladen: Leske&Budrich [Figurationen 3].
Barzantny, Anke (2008) Mentoring-Programme für Frauen: MaßnahmenzuStrukturveränderungen in der Wissenschaft?Wiesbaden: VerlagfürSozialwissenschaften [Figurationen 8].
Bergh, Godfried van Benthem van den (1992) The Nuclear Revolution and the End of the Cold War: Forced Restraint. London: Macmillan.
Bernstein,Elizabeth (2007)Temporarily Yours: Intimacy, Authenticity, and the Commerce of Sex. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bogner, Artur (1986) ‘The structure of social process: a commentary on the sociology of Norbert Elias’, Sociology 20 (3) 387–411.
Bowden, Brett (2009) The Empire of Civilization: The Evolution of an Imperial Idea. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bucholc, Marta (2013) SamotnośćDługodystansowca: Na ObrzeżachSocjologiiNorbertaEliasa [‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner: On the Margins of the Sociology of Norbert Elias’]. Warszawa: WydawnictwoNaukowe PWN.
Burguière, André (2009) TheAnnales School: An Intellectual History. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Buschendorf, Christa, Astrid Franke and Johannes Voelz, eds (2011) Civilizing and Decivilizing Processes: Figurational Approaches to American Culture. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press.
Dalal, Farhad (1998) Taking the Group Seriously: Towards a Post-Foulkesian Group Analytic Theory. London: Jessica Kingsley.
Derlugian, Georgi (2005) Bourdieu’s Secret Admirer in the Caucasus: A World-System Biography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Dörfelt-Mathey, Tabea (2015) DichtungalsMenschenwissenschaft. Das poetischeWerk von Norbert Elias. Wiesbaden: Springer VS [Figurationen 11].
Dorner-Hörig, Christian (2014) Habitus und Politik in Kärnten: Soziogenetische und psychogenetischeGrundlagen des Systems JörgHaider. Wiesbaden: Springer VS [Figurationen 9].
Dunning, Eric and Jason Hughes (2013) Norbert Elias and Modern Sociology: Knowledge, Interdependence, Power, Process. London: Bloomsbury.
Dunning, Eric and Kenneth Sheard (1979) Barbarians, Gentlemen and Players: A Sociological Study of the Development of Rugby Football. Oxford: Martin Robertson.
Elias, Norbert(2007b [1984]) An Essay on Time. Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 9].
Elias, Norbert (2007a [1987]) Involvement and Detachment.Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 8].
Elias, Norbert (2009a [1982]) ‘Scientific establishments’, in Essays I: On the Sociology of Knowledge and the Sciences. Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 14], pp.107–60.
Elias, Norbert (2009b) ‘Group charisma and group disgrace’, in Essays III: On Sociology and the Humanities. Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 16], pp.73–81.
Elias, Norbert (2010a [1979]), The Loneliness of the Dying, in The Loneliness of the Dying and Humana Conditio. Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 6].
Elias, Norbert (2010b [1985]), Humana Conditio: Observations on the Development of Humanity on the Fortieth Anniversary of the End of a War (8 May 1985), in The Loneliness of the Dying and Humana Conditio. Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 6].
Elias, Norbert (2010c [1987]) The Society of Individuals. Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 10].
Elias, Norbert (2010d [1991]) Mozart: The Sociology of a Genius, in Mozart and Other Essays on Courtly Art. Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 12].
Elias, Norbert (2011 [1991]) The Symbol Theory. Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 13].
Elias, Norbert (2012a [1939]) On the Process of Civilisation.Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 3; earlier editions published under title The Civilizing Process].
Elias, Norbert (2012b [1970]) What is Sociology? Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 5].
Elias, Norbert (2013a [1989]) Studies on the Germans: Power struggles and the Development of Habitus in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 11].
Elias, Norbert (2013b [1990]) Interviews and Autobiographical Reflections. Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 17].
Elias, Norbert (2104a) ‘Freud’s concept of society and beyond it’, in Supplements and Index to the Collected Wiorks. Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 18], pp.13–52.
Elias, Norbert (2104b) ‘Lucien Lévy-Bruhl and “the question of the logical unity of humankind”’, in Supplements and Index to the Collected Wiorks. Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 18], pp.53–136.
Elias, Norbert and Eric Dunning (2008 [1986]) Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilising Process
Elias, Norbert and John L. Scotson (2008 [1965]) The Established and the Outsiders. Dublin: UCD Press [Collected Works, vol. 4].
Ernst, Stefanie (1999) Geschlechterverhältnisse und Führungspositionen: Eine figurationssoziologische Analyse der Stereotypenkonstruction. Opladen: WestdeutscherVerlag.
Featherstone, Mike (1987) Norbert Elias and Figurational Sociology, special double issue of Theory, Culture and Society, 4 (2–3).
Fletcher, Jonathan(1997) Violence and Civilization: An Introduction to the Work of Norbert Elias. Cambridge: Polity.
Frerichs, Melanie (2014) Innovationsprozesse und organisationalerWandel in der Automobilindustrie: Eineprozesssoziologische Analyse betrieblicherMachtproben. Wiesbaden: Springer VS [Figurationen 10].
Gabriel, Norman and Stephen Mennell, eds. (2011) Norbert Elias and Figurational Research: Processual Thinking in Sociology. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Gleichmann, Peter R. (2006) SoziologiealsSynthese. ZivilisationstheoretischeSchriftenüberArchitektur, Wissen und Gewalt. Wiesbaden: VerlagfürSozialwissenschaften [Figurationen 7].
Gleichmann, Peter, Johan Goudsblom and Hermann Korte, eds (1977) Human Figurations: Essays for/Aufsätzefür Norbert Elias. Amsterdam: StichtingAmsterdamsSociologischTijdschrift.
Gleichmann, Peter, Johan Goudsblom and Hermann Korte, eds (1979) Materialien zu Norbert Elias’ Zivilisationstheorie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Gleichmann, Peter, Johan Goudsblom and Hermann Korte, eds (1984) Macht und Zivilisation: Materialien zu Norbert Elias’ Zivilisationstheorie 2. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Goodwin, John and Jason Hughes (2011)‘Ilya Neustadt, Norbert Elias, and the Leicester Department: personal correspondence and the history of sociology in Britain’, British Journal of Sociology 62: 4, pp.677–95.
Goudsblom, Johan (1977a) Sociology in the Balance. Oxford: Blackwell.
Goudsblom, Johan (1977b) ‘Responses to Norbert Elias’s work in England, Germany, the Netherlands and France’, in P. R. Gleichmann, J. Goudsblom and H. Korte, eds, Human Figurations: Essays for/Aufsätzefür Norbert Elias. Amsterdam: StichtingAmsterdamsSociologischTijdschrift, pp.37–97.
Goudsblom, Johan (1992) Fire and Civilization. London: Allen Lane.
Goudsblom, Johan (1996) ‘Human history and long-term social processes: toward a synthesis of chronology and phaseology’, in Johan Goudsblom, Eric Jones and Stephen Mennell, The Course of Human History: Economic Growth, Social Process, and Civilization. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, pp.15–30.
Goudsblom, Johan (2015), ‘Fire and Fuel in Human History’ in David Christian (ed.), Cambridge History of the World, vol. I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 185–207.
Heinich, Nathalie (1997) La sociologie de Norbert Elias. Paris: La Découverte.
Hinz, Michael (2002) Der Zivilisationsprozess: Mythos oderRealität?:WissenschaftssoziologischeUntersuchungenzur Elias–Duerr–Kontroverse. Opladen: Leske&Busdrich [Figurationen 4].
Hughes, Jason (2003) Learning to Smoke: Tobacco Use in the West. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kapteyn, Paul (1996) The Stateless Market: The European Dilemma of Integration and Civilization. London: Routledge.
Kempers, Bram (1992 [1982]) Kunst, Mach ten Mecenaat: Het beroep van schilder in socialeberhoudingen 1250–1600. Amsterdam: De Arbeiderspers. [Painting, Power and Patronage: The Rise of the Professional Artist in Renaissance Italy. London: Allen Lane, 1992.]
Kilminster (1998) The Sociological Revolution: From the Enlightenment to the Global Age. London: Routledge.
Kilminster, Richard (2007)Norbert Elias: Post-philosophical Sociology. London: Routledge.
Korte, Hermann (1988) Über Norbert Elias: Das Werdens eines Menschenwissenschaftlers. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. [Revised editions, Opladen: Leske&Budrich 1997, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2013.]
Korte, Hermann (1994) ‘Norbert Elias and the theory of civilization’, in Bernhard Schäfers(ed.) Sociology in Germany, Special Issue 3 of Soziologie: Journal of the Deutsche GesellschaftfürSoziologie, pp.164–76.
Korte, Hermann, ed. (1990) GesellschaftlicheProzesse und individuelle Praxis: BochumerVorlesungenzu Norbert Elias’ Zivilisationstheorie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Kranendonk, Willem H. (1990) Society as Process: A Bibliography of Figurational Sociology in The Netherlands, Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis. [Also available online: http://www.norberteliasfoundation.nl/network/nethbib.php]
Krieken, Robert van (1998) Norbert Elias. London: Routledge.
Krieken, Robert van (2012) Celebrity Society. London: Routledge.
Krumrey, Horst-Volker (1984) Entwicklungsstrukturen von Verhaltensstandarden: Eine soziologische Prozessanalyse auf der Grundklage deutscher Anstands- und Manierenbücher von 1870 bis 1970. Frankfurt amManin: Suhrkamp.
Kunze, Jan-Peter (2005) Das GeschlechterverhältnisalsMachtprozess: Die Machtbalance der Geschlechter in Westdeutschlandseit 1945. Wiesbaden: VerlagfürSozialwissenschaften [Figurationen 6]
Kuzmics, Helmut and Roland Axtmann (2000) Autorität, Staat und Nationalcharakter.Opladen: Leske&Busdrich. [Figurationen 2].[English translation: Authority, State and National Character: The Civilising Process in Austria and England, 1700–1900. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007].
Landini, Tatiana Savoia and François Dépelteau, eds (2014) Norbert Elias and Empirical Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Lepoutre, David (1997) Coeur de banlieue: Codes, rites etlangages. Paris: OdileJacob.
Linklater, Andrew (2011) The Problem of Harm in World Politics, vol. I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Loyal, Steven and Quilley, Stephen (2005) ‘Eliasian theory as a “Central Theory” for the human sciences’, Current Sociology 53 (5): 809–30.
Loyal, Steven and Quilley, Stephen, eds. (2004) The Sociology of Norbert Elias. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mennell, Stephen (1985) All Manners of Food: Eating and Taste in England and France from the Middle Ages to the Present. Oxford: Blackwell.
Mennell, Stephen (1989) ‘Parsons et Elias’, Sociologieetsociété 21 (1):69–86. [English text available at www.stephenmennell.eu/publications/journalArticles.php.]
Mennell, Stephen (1989) Norbert Elias: Civilization and the Human Self-Image. Oxford: Blackwell. [Subsequent paperback editions published under the title Norbert Elias: An Introduction, by Blackwell, 1992, and by UCD Press, Dublin, 1998.]
Mennell, Stephen (2006) ‘Elias and the Counter-ego’, History of the Human Sciences, 19 (2) 2006: 73–91.
Ohira, Akira, ed. (2014) Norbert Elias as Social Theorist: Figurational Sociology and its Applications. Tokyo: DTP Publishing.
Okumura, Takashi (2001)Elias: BoryokuenoToi[Norbert Elias: Enquiries into Violence]. Tokyo: KeisoShobo Publishing.
Parsons, Talcott (1937) The Structure of Social Action. New York: McGraw Hill.
Parsons, Talcott (1970) ‘On building social system theory: a personal history’, Daedalus 99 (4) 826–81.
Perulli, Angela(2012) Norbert Elias: Processi e parole dellasociologia (Rome: Carocci, 2012).
Pinker, Steven (2011) The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined .London: Allen Lane.
Reicher, Dieter (2003) Staat, Schafott und Schuldgefühl: Was Staatsaufbau und Todesstrafemiteinanderzutunhaben. Opladen: Leske&Budrich [Figurationen 5].
Rojek, Chris (2004) ‘An anatomy of the Leicester School of Sociology: an interview with Eric Dunning’, Journal of Classical Sociology, 4: 3, pp.337–59.
Schröter, Michael (1997) Erfahrungen mit Norbert Elias. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Stammer, Otto, ed. (1965) Max Weber und die Soziologieheute: Verhandlungen des 15. DeutschenSoziologentages. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr. [English translation by Kathleen Morris, Max Weber and Sociology Today, Oxford: Blackwell, 1971.]
Stephen Mennell (2007) The American Civilizing Process. Cambridge: Polity.
Šubrt, Jiří (1996) CivilizačníTeorieNorbertaEliase. Prague: Karolinum.
Swaan, Abram de (1988) In Care of the State: The Social Dynamics of Public Health, Education and Income Maintenance in Western Europe and the United States. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Tabboni, Simonetta (1993) Norbert Elias: UnRitrattoIntelettuale. Bologna: Il Mulino
Tietze, Nikola (2001) Islamische Identitäten: Formen muslimischer Religiosität junger Männer in Deutschland und Frankreich. Hamburg: Hamburger Edition.
Treibel, Annette (2008) Die Soziologie von Norbert Elias: eine Einführung in ihre Geschichte, Systematik und Perspektiven. Wiesbaden: VS, 2008.
Treibel, Annette, Helmut Kuzmics and ReinhardBlomert, eds. (2000) Zivilisationstheorie in der Bilanz: Beiträgezum 100. Geburtstag von Norbert Elias.Opladen: Leske&Bundrich [Figurationen 1].
Vree, Wilbert van (1999) Meetings, Manners and Civilisation. London: University of Leicester Press.
Vries, Bert de and Johan Goudsblom, eds (2002), Mappae Mundi: Humans and their Habitats in a Long-Term Socio-Ecological Perspective. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Wilson, Bryan (1977) ‘A tribute to Elias’, New Society, 7 July, pp.15–16.
Wouters, Cas (2004) Sex and Manners: Female Emancipation in the West, 1890–2000. London: Sage.
Wouters, Cas (2007) Informalisation: Manners and Emotions since 1890. London: Sage.


  • Norbert Elias
  • figurational sociology


Dive into the research topics of 'Elias 25 Years On'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this