Sociology and Social Policy Seminar | Law and Civilization: Norbert Elias as a Regulation Theorist’
The German sociologist Norbert Elias analysed the interconnections between processes of state formation, institutional dynamics and individual subjectivity, or habitus, and the logic of their processes of transformation over time. His work has had significant impact on social scientific thought in a wide variety of fields, but his influence in legal scholarship, however, has concentrated in criminology, with only sporadic use of his ideas in relation to other topics in law and society research. In this presentation, I will outline the main elements of a longer paper in which I discuss the ways in which Elias’s theory of the process of civilization can be read as a theory of the long-term development of modes of legal regulation, as well as the potential future directions in which Elias’s process-figurational approach might move in socio-legal research and scholarship, both of which I hope to develop in more detail in a book-length version of these ideas.
About the Speaker
Robert van Krieken is Professor of Sociology at the University of Sydney, as well as Visiting Professor of Sociology at University College Dublin. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, and he is also currently President of RC17 Sociology of Organisations, and Vice-President of RC56 Historical Sociology.
His research interests include the sociology of organisations, law, criminology, childhood, processes of civilization and decivilization, cultural genocide, and the history and sociology of celebrity, as well as contributing to the theoretical debates around the work of Elias, Foucault, Luhmann and Latour. His books include Norbert Elias (1998), Celebrity Society: the Struggle for Atention (2019) and Sociology 6th edition (2016, co-authored). His journal articles have been published in Sociological Review, Sociology, British Journal of Sociology, Economy & Society, Journal of Sociology, Theory, Culture & Society, Annual Review of Law & Social Science, and Theory & Society.
Most recently he has elaborated on the significant of Elias for organizational analysis, and one of his on-going projects concerns the the potential future directions in which a process-figurational approach in socio-legal research and scholarship might move, including the emotional dimensions of law, human rights and humanitarianism, the intersections of legal evolution and broader processes of social change, legal pluralism and legal culture, the evolution of tort law, constitutionalism and the rule of law.