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NORBERT ELIAS (1897-1990) was one of the greatest sociologists of the twentieth century. He studied with Alfred Weber in Heidelberg and served as Karl Mannheim's assistant in Frankfurt. On Hitler's coming to power, he went into exile, first in France and then in Britain. His magnum opus The Civilising Process received little attention when it was published in Switzerland in 1939 and only after Elias's formal retirement in 1962 were most of his other books and essays published. International intellectual celebrity came to him right at the end of his long life. ERIC DUNNING is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Leicester
Elias effectively founded the modern sociology of sport in collaboration with Eric Dunning in the 1960s and 1970s. They argue that in highly constrained, 'civilised' societies, sports - as well as a spectrum of other cultural and leisure activities - are to be understood not in terms of 'relaxation' but rather of the need for pleasurable excitement and its pleasurable resolution.The topics range historically from the violence of the ancient Greek Olympic Games to foxhunting, early forms of football, and the question of why Britain proved to be the cradle of so many modern sports. And, today, what are the effects of achievement striving in elite sports? Why has spectator violence become such a problem? Why do so many sports retain the character of a 'male preserve'? Originally written in English, this volume has been thoroughly revised by Eric Dunning and includes one hitherto unpublished essay by Elias and a new essay by Dunning, bringing up to date his interpretation of football hooliganism.
Norbert Elias, 1897-1990
Note on the text
Introduction, Norbert Elias
The Quest for Excitement in Leisure, Norbert Elias and Eric Dunning
Leisure in the Sparetime Spectrum, Norbert Elias and Eric Dunning
The Genesis of Sport as a Sociological Problem, Part 1, Norbert Elias
The Genesis of Sport as a Sociological Problem, Part 2, Norbert Elias
An Essay on Sport and Violence, Norbert Elias
Folk Football in Medieval and Early Modern Britain, Norbert Elias and Eric Dunning
Dynamics of Sport Groups with Special Reference to Football, Norbert Elias and Eric Dunning
The Dynamics of Modern Sport
- Notes on Achievement-Striving and the Social Significance of Sport, Eric Dunning
Social Bonding and Violence in Sport, Eric Dunning
Sport as a Male Preserve
- Notes on the Social Sources of Masculine Identity and its Transformations, Eric Dunning
Football Hooliganism as an Emergent Global Idiom, Eric Dunning
"The enterprise of publishing the collected works of Norbert Elias under the editorship of Richard Kilminster and Stephen Mennell by University College Dublin Press is an extremely important contribution to the contemporary intellectual and academic scene. Norbert Elias was one of the most original minds in the human and social sciences in the 20th century – his work covers not only a very broad range of sociological topics starting with his classical The Civilising Process and later The Court Society, but also many topics ranging from sociology of knowledge to sociology of sport and analysis of historical processes; the broad philosophical problems, such as the idea of the place of the progress of symbolic dimensions in social life. This is really a monumental enterprise, very worthwhile and very constructive, presenting a great challenge to the contemporary intellectual and academic scene – and UCD Press should be congratulated in undertaking this enterprise."
S. N. Eisenstadt
Jerusalem, 24 July 2008
"Too easily the editors and readers of Books Ireland take it as given that Irish publishers’ books are mostly about Ireland or by Irish writers. We wish it were not so because we think our publishers are of world class, and a shining exception and exemplar is this series of eighteen volumes of the life’s work in English – some of his work was written in German – of Elias (1897–1990) whose major theme was the theory of civilising processes … It is particularly happy that the first of these titles should find an Irish publisher since we are perforce specialists in the matter of social establishments or ascendancy – the existence of an ‘Irishtown’ outside many of our towns speaks of literal outsidership. The frequent use of the word ‘exciting’ in advertising and criticism seems to go unnoticed and Norbert is very interesting on the subject as well as on the dynamics of sports, social (and especially male) bonding, violence and football hooliganism. These books are in the very best tradition of design, with acid-free paper, sewn bindings, cloth boards, coloured endpapers, spine labels and acetate jackets."
'The Collected Works of Norbert Elias that is being published by University College Dublin Press. Eighteen volumes are planned. The production is exemplary, from binding and paper quality through the editorial care. Earlier translations have been corrected and changes noted; editors’ notes explain circumstances within which Elias wrote and clarify references he makes to lesser known authors and contemporary events.'
Canadian Journal of Sociology 35(4) 2010
Read Stephen Mennell being interviewed about Norbert Elias
in Sociologica, 2014
Read the January 2015 newsletter of the Norbert Elias Foundation
Norbert Elias died on 1 August 1990.
To mark the twentieth anniversary, the German radio station WDR3
(Westdeutscher Rundfunk 3. Programm) broadcast a fifteen
-minute programme in its daily ZeitZeichen series
You can find out more information about Elias by visiting the Norbert Elias Foundation website