Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE (2003)
Norbert Elias (1897-1990) is now widely regarded as one of the greatest sociologists of the 20th century. The challenge and profundity of his work are still being assimilated. Some have suggested that in time, he will be regarded as the Copernicus or Darwin of sociology, the man who set the subject on its scientific course. These four volumes provide a comprehensive and penetrating survey of Elias's life and work. They pinpoint the main fields of research which Elias and his followers have explored: the civilizing process; state-formation; knowledge, religion and science; informalization; power; established-outsider figurations in fields such as class, gender and race; the sociology of the body; the sociology of the emotions; the sociology of leisure, sport and the arts; the sociology of the professions; medicine and psychoanalysis; crime and punishment; drug use and abuse. The collection also explores the various critiques of Elias's `figurational' or `process' sociology and counter-critiques by Elias's followers. The volumes successfully locate the work of Elias and his followers in the context of modern sociology, especially in relation to writers such as Mannheim, Adorno, Parsons, Goffman, Foucault and Bourdieu. In the penetrating, original and informative Introduction, Eric Dunning and Stephen Mennell elucidate Elias's sociological contributions and the bearing his life experiences had on his work. The collection is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the sociological contribution of Norbert Elias. The collection is organized in the following 4 volumes: Volume 1 Focuses on Elias's work in the context of his life and career, and reviews his place in the contemporary social sciences, especially in relation to such figures as Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu. Also discussed in this volume are Elias's pathbreaking contributions to such issues as: the 'agency-structure' dilemma; habitus; power; involvement and detachment; knowledge and the sciences; time; and the relations between history and sociology. Volume 2 Addresses Elias's major empiricallybased contributions to sociological theory, especially the theories of the civilizing process, state formation and established-outsider figurations. Also discussed are informalization and de-civilizing processes, and the applications of the established-outsider theory to such fields as race, gender and sexuality. Volume 3 Examines figurational contributions to special areas of sociology such as: the sociology of the body; the sociology of the emotions; the sociology of everyday life, sport, leisure, lifestyles, taste, music and the arts; deviance and crime; the sociology of health and illness; psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and psychology; death and dying; and drugs and tobacco use. Volume 4 Focuses on criticisms of Elias's work and the responses of Elias and his sociological followers. Key themes are: civilization and the Holocaust; sports violence, especially soccer hooliganism; the meanings and value of concepts like 'development', 'evolution' and 'change'; and the relative merits of long-term and short-term approaches. The end of the volume returns to the issue of Elias's place in contemporary sociology and the growing worldwide recognition of the significance of his contribution. Eric Dunning is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Leicester; Stephen Mennell is Professor of Sociology, University College Dublin.