Sociogenesis and Psychogenesis: Norbert Elias’s Historical Social Psychology as a Research Tradition in Comparative Sociology

in Comparative Sociology
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What is widely known as ‘figurational sociology’, or alternatively ‘process sociology’, is the research tradition stemming from the writings of Norbert Elias. The tradition extends beyond sociology to historians and many other branches of the social sciences. Elias’s Collected Works run to 18 volumes, but the bedrock of his oeuvre is his early study On the Process of Civilisation, in which the interrelation of long-term sociogenetic processes like state-formation and equally long-term psychogenetic processes like conscience- and habitus-formation is first clearly elaborated. Of the many directions in which the theory has been subsequently developed, the most important is Elias’s sociological theory of knowledge and the sciences, which involves a radical rejection of central assumptions of Western philosophy.



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The historian Bruce Mazlish (1998) has developed models of social scientific method, including historical method, similar to Elias’s.


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