Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

Joop Goudsblom presents the work of Norbert Elias - AISSR Great Thinkers

AISSR Great Thinkers Seminar Series

25Sept2017 14:30 - 16:00


Only late in his long life did Norbert Elias (1897-1990) achieve intellectual celebrity. He was rediscovered by a new generation of scholars in the 1970s and eventually has been recognised as one of the greatest sociologists of the twentieth century. Elias' theory focused on the relationship between power, behavior, emotion, and knowledge over time. 

Elias is especially famous for his theory of civilizing (and decivilizing) processes. His reputation and popularity grew immensely after the republication of The Civilising Process in 1969. His ambitious vision for the scope of the social sciences extended however to the whole development of human society from its earliest origins, including the long-term growth of knowledge and the sciences. His writings extend to such diverse topics as violence, sport, ageing and dying, time, work, art, poetry, utopias and the relations between the sexes.

Elias was the first ever laureate of both the Theodor W. Adorno Prize (1977) and the European Amalfi Prize for Sociology and Social Sciences (1987).

From about 1977 Elias based himself in Amsterdam where he died in 1990. 

Joop Goudsblom

Joop Goudsblom (photo: Joost van den Broek)

About Joop Goudsblom

Joop Goudsblom was professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam between 1968 and 1997. Together with Abram de Swaan and Jan Breman, he is the founding father of the Amsterdam Social Science Research School (ASSR) in 1987, the predecessor of the AISSR. 

Goudsblom studied and was inspired by the work of Norbert Elias. He invited him for a visiting professorship at the UvA in 1969, which was the start of a research tradition of figurational and process sociology in Amsterdam. The cooperation between Goudsblom and Elias also became a friendship.

Goudsblom further developed this form of sociology into the study of long-term developments.  Among others he wrote about our relations with fire (Fire and Civilization, 1992) and with time (Het regime van de tijd, 1997) over the whole course of human history. 

About the Great Thinkers Seminar Series

AISSR members present the work of a great thinker in the field of social sciences immersing us in key features of the social science canon and ‘Great Thinkers’ and exploring contributions across disciplinary lines. Staff members, PhD students and others interested can attend the public lecture.  In the academic year of 2017-2018 we shall also present the work of Karl Marx, Marilyn Strathern, Karl Polanyi and Michel Foucault.


All are welcome. Registration via:

Location: CREA, Music Hall (Muziekzaal)

  • Roeterseilandcampus - building I (CREA)

    Nieuwe Achtergracht 168-178 | 1018 WV Amsterdam

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