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NORBERT ELIAS (1897-1990) was one of the greatest sociologists of the twentieth century. He studied in Breslau and Heidelberg and served as Karl Mannheim's assistant in Frankfurt. In exile after 1933, first in France and then in Britain, he wrote his magnum opus On the Process of Civilisation. His whole oeuvre is now appearing in new scholarly editions in the Collected Works in English. EDITORS Edmund Jephcott has translated a large proportion of Elias's work; Stephen Mennell is Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University College Dublin, and General Editor of the Collected Works; Richard Kilminster is chair of the Editorial Advisory Board; Katie Liston teaches sociology of sport at the University of Ulster.
Vol. 17 of the Collected Works can serve as an excellent introduction to Elias's thinking overall. In the last decade of his life, Elias gave many interviews in which he discussed aspects of his work, rebutting many common misunderstandings of his thinking and further developing ideas sketched out in his writings. Besides a selection of these 'academic' interviews (many of them not previously published in English, or not published at all), the book contains his essay in intellectual autobiography and a long interview in which he talks about his own life.
Norbert Elias, 1897-1990
- Note on the text
AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY
- Notes on a lifetime
- Norbert Elias's story of his life (1984), interview with Arend-Jan Heerma Van Voss and Bram Van Stolk
'Sociology ... done in the right way' (1984-5), interview with Johan Heilbron
An interview in Amsterdam (1969), interview with Johan Goudsblom
'On the Process of Civilisation' revisited (1974), interview with Stanislas Fontaine
Sociology as the history of manners (1978), interview with Heiko Ernst
'I use historical studies to clarify certain universal human problems' (1981) , interview with Didier Eribon
Knowledge and power (1984)
interview with Peter Ludes
The Janus face of states (1982), interview with Norbert Elias by Peter Ludes, Frank Adler and Paul Piccone
'We are the late barbarians' (1988), interview with Nikolaus Von Festenberg and Marion Schreiber
11 'We need more empathy for the human difficulties of the process of civilisation' (1989), interview with Ulfried Geuter
'Perhaps I have had something to say that will have a future' (1989), interview with Wolfgang Engler
A 'Jewish Portrait' (1989), interview with Herlinde Koelbl
APPENDICES I Selected poems
II On re-reading my doctoral dissertation
III Editorial note on Erich Kallius and the Gumbel Case
IV List of Interviews and conversations with Norbert Elias
"In many ways the notes by the editors which preface these volumes can ... be read as biographical illustrations of Elias's own ongoing intellectual meditations on the tensions between involvement and detachment, and with his continuing personal and professional confrontation with the problem of time."
"well worth the dedicated study and patient reflection [it] demand[s] of readers."
Canadian Journal of Sociology 33
"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 … 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