Lectures, Conference and Seminar Papers

(a select list)



‘The political implications of figurational sociology’, conference ‘Global Interdependencies: What’s new in the human society of individuals? – The political and academic relevance of Norbert Elias’s work today’, Université Saint-Louis, Brussels, 5–8 December 2018.

‘Reinventing Elias: International Pre-Conference PhD Workshop’, Stephen Mennell and Robert van Krieken, 4–5 December 2018, Brussels, Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles

The American Civilizing Process: The USA and Latin America’, paper presented to the Colombia Reading Group, Latin America Centre, University of Oxford, 2 November 2018.

‘Laudatio Richard Kilminster’, Conference on The Sociology of Sociology in Long-term Perspective, in Honour of Richard Kilminster, 5–6 April 2018.

‘Childhood and Society: Civilisation as Deferred Gratification’, in the Interdisziplinäre Zentrum ‘Kindheiten–Gesellschaften, University of Wuppertal, on 23 January 2018.



‘Trump’s America: Through two one-way mirrors’, Conference on ‘Trump’s America’, Clinton Institute, UCD, 5–6 May 2017

'Elias and Popper'Colloquium on ‘Norbert Elias: Sociologue de la connaissance et des sciences’, Centre Alexandre Koyré (EHESS), 27, rue Damesme, 75013 Paris – 19–20 January 2017. [Published in Human Figurations 7: 1 (2017)]



'History is not bunk' (extended version), ISA RC33 Logic and Methodology of Sociology conference, University of Leicester, 14 September 2016

‘Why Democracy Cannot be Dropped in Bombs from B52s at 30,000 Feet: The Social Bases of Democracy Revisited’, International Sociological Association – Vienna Forum 2016, RC56 Historical Sociology, 13 July 2016.

'History is not bunk' – short plenary presentation in 'Common Session', on behalf of WG02/RC56 Historical Sociology, ISA Vienna Forum, 12 July 2016

‘Apologia pro vita sociologica sua: social character and historical process, and why I became an Eliasian sociologist’, Social Character and Historical Processes: A Conference in Honour of Stephen Mennell, Newman House, Dublin, 7–8 January 2016. [Also published in Human Figurations 6: 1, 2017.]


‘The Constraints of Organisation’, Symposium on ‘Figuring Organisations: People and Processes’, Business School, Dublin City University, 26 November 2015.

‘All Manners of Food: Eating and Taste in England and France Revisited’, Irish-French Forum on Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Training (sponsored by School of Culinary Arts, DIT and French Embassy), Dublin Institute of Technology, 23 November 2015.

Response to Pierre Rosanvallon’s Discourse on ‘Rethinking equality in a new Age of inequality’ – Royal Irish Academy, 11 June 2015.

‘Summary and conclusions’, Workshop on Sports, Leisure and Culture in the works of Norbert Elias: Connecting with Unpublished Material. Regionalzentrum Frankfurt der FernUniversität Hagen, Frankfurt am Main, 9–10 April 2015.



‘Explaining American hypocrisy’, XV Congreso internacional procesos civilizatorios: el legado de Norbert Elias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), 3–8 November, 2014 (by videolink

‘Remarks on the completion of the o f the Collected Works of Norbert Elias’ , at the conference ‘From the Past to the Present and towards Possible Futures’, University of Leicester, 20–22 June 2014. [Presentation of the 18 volumes of the Collected Works, following the welcome by the Vice-Chancellor, Sir Robert Burgess, at the opening of the4 conference.]

‘Sociogenesis and psychogenesis: Norbert Elias’s historical social psychology as a research tradition in comparative sociology’, Seminar on ‘Sociological Schools of Thought and Comparative Analysis’, Maison Interuniversitaire des Sciences de l'Homme, Université de Strasbourg, under the auspices of Research Committee 20, Comparative Sociology, of the International Sociological Association, 28 March 2014. 

America: a social and economic model to be rejected?’, public lecture, University of Huddersfield Business School, 26 February 2014



Graduate Workshop: ‘Power, knowledge and civilisation: Norbert Elias's anti-Kantian sociology’, Higher School of Economics, National Research University, Moscow, 14 November 2013.

‘The American process of civilisation: a sceptical sketch’, Higher School of Economics, National Research University, Moscow, 13 November 2013.

'Civilising offensives and decivilising processes: between the emic and the etic', International symposium on 'The civilising offensive (het burgerlijk beschavingsoffensief): prospects for future understanding, or an obsolete concept?', Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University, 24 October 2013.

‘Laudatio Helmut Kuzmics’, delivered at the opening of the conference on ‘Habitus, War and Civilisation’, held in honour of Professor Helmut Kuzmics on his retirement from the Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, 25–27 April 2013.



‘Theory-driven use of archives in food research’, seminar on ‘Tales from the archive: how do food researchers from different disciplines use archives?’, British Library Conference Centre, London, 19 November 2012.

‘Indigestion in the long nineteenth century: aspects of English taste and anxiety, 1800–1950’, conference on ‘Cooking, cuisine and class in the anthropology of food today’, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 19–20 March 2012. Also discussant for James Staples, ‘Civilising tastes: from caste to class in South Indian foodways’, and concluding remarks for the conference as a whole. 

‘Psychoanalysis and sociology: Norbert Elias’s final critique of Sigmund Freud’. Irish Psycho-Analytic Association, 4 February 2012.



‘Norbert Elias, 1897–1990: Citizen of Wrocław, theorist of civilisation’, public lecture, Willy Brandt Centre, University of Wrocław, 7 December 2011.

‘Sociology needs an historical social psychology: Norbert Elias’s final critique of Sigmund Freud’ – opening paper at inaugural meeting of British Sociological Association Study Group on Sociology, Psychoanalysis and the Psychosocial Study, Birkbeck College, University of London, 28 October.

‘The work of the Norbert Elias Foundation’, Centre Norbert Elias (de l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales), Marseilles, 15 April.

‘Are Americans more violent than Europeans? – historical and sociological perspectives’, Centre Norbert Elias, Marseilles, 15 April.



‘Is there any such thing as “American national character”? – Reflections on the American civilising process’, Center for American Studies, Universität Heidelberg, 4 November.

Graduate workshop on the relevance of the work of Norbert Elias for American Studies, Center for American Studies, Universität Heidelberg, 4 November.

‘Problems of Civil Society and Civilising Processes’, Institut für Soziologie, Universität Heidelberg, 2 November.

Panel member, closing session, conference on ‘Beyond dichotomous thinking: the society of individuals – The legacy and continuing relevance of Norbert Elias’s sociology’, Università di Firenze, 9 October.

‘American Capitalism: sociological reasons why the rest of the world follows the American model in nearly everything, and sociological reasons why that is a very bad idea’, ISA World Congress of Sociology, RC 20 Comparative Sociology, Session 8, 15 July.

‘The Problem of American Habitus’, Institut für Sozialforschung, Johan Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt, 8 February.

‘American individualism and its consequences for the world (including the credit crunch)’, Department of Sociology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 20 January. 



‘Indigestion in the Long Nineteenth Century, 1800–1950: Aspects of English Taste and Anxiety’, Großbritannien Zentrum, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, 7 December.

‘Fear of Food and Fear of the Sociology of Food’, Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester, 26 November.

‘Europe and the USA: Venus and Mars’, Department of Sociology and Politics, University of Florence, 19 November.

‘American exceptionalism in the light of Elias’s theory of civilising and decivilising processes’, Section thématique 44: Sociologie et histoire des mécanismes de dépacification du jeu politique. 10eCongrès de l’Assoiation Française de Science Politique / 3eCongrès international des associations francophones de science politique, Institut d’études politiques de Grenoble, Grenoble, France, 7–9 September.

‘The Problem of American Habitus’, Interdisziplinäre und internationaler Workshop: ‘Habitus: sociologischliterarsichliteratursoziologisch, Universität Graz, Austria, 21–22 May.

‘Norbert Elias and Group Analysis’, Centre for Psychotherapy, School of Medicine, St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, 20 February.

‘Liminality and the Wild West: The Frontier Myth, Manifest Destiny and the Building of the American Empire’, Conference: Liminality and Cultures of Change, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge, 13-14 February.

‘Closing Comment: On concept-formation and the use of theory in history and sociology’, First annual conference of the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology: ‘End of Messages?: The State of the Dialogue between History and Sociology, Universität Bielefeld, 9-1 February.



Author’s Response to Critics, ‘Author meets Critics’ session on session on Stephen Mennell, The American Civilizing Process (Cambridge: Polity, 2007) -comments on the book by Jeff Adler (University of Florida), Randy Roth (Ohio State University) and Pieter Spierenburg (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam), Social Science History Association, Annual meeting, Intercontinental Hotel, Miami, FL, 22-26 October.

‘Adels- und Kriegsethik bei Nietzsche und Elias im Hinblick auf den amerikanischen Zivilisationsprozess’,        Conference on ‘Nietzsche und Elias’, Humboldt University, Berlin, 26 September.

Final Conference on ‘Control of Violence’, Response to Peter Imbusch, ‘Processes of decivilisation, or some preliminary thoughts and tentative conclusions on how the thin veneer of civilisation is stripped off – an exploration of concepts and a proposal for analysis, Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung, Universität Bielefeld, 10-13 September.

‘Power and Perception: The American Civilising (and Decivilising) Process’ and ‘Taking Elias to America (roundtable, with Cas Wouters, University of Utrecht), Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Boston, MA, 31 July-4 August.

‘American Habitus: Individualism and its Consequences’, Conference on Self-Regulation or Self-Care, University of Hamburg, 3–5 July 2008.

Three sessions organised; own paper on ‘The American Empire: Functional De-democratisation and Diminishing Foresight’, International Institute of Sociology (IIS) 38th World Congress of Sociology, Budapest, 26–30 June 2008.

‘Against dualisms: “intercorporeality” and “intersubjectivity” in the light of Norbert Elias’s post-philosophical sociology’, Keynote address, conference on ‘Intercorporeality and Intersubjectivity’, UCD School of Philosophy, 6 June.

‘The Hidden Injuries of Past Conflicts: Norbert Elias, Psychoanalysis and Sociology’, Annual Public Lecture, Irish Psycho-Analytical Association (Quaker Meeting House, Monkstown, Dublin), 19 April 2008.

‘Civilising and Decivilising Processes in the USA’, lunchtime lecture, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, 14 April.

‘The American Civilising Process: History and 'National Character’, Department of Politics and Sociology, National University of Ireland, Galway, 15 February.

‘Manners, Violence and State Formation – Reflections on Civilising and Decivilising Processes in America’,American History Seminar (Clare College), Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, 21 January.



‘History, National Character and American Civilisation’, Tim Curtis Memorial Lecture, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK, 29 November.

‘The American Civilising Process and its Decivilising Underbelly’, Opening address at conference on ‘Civilising and Decivilising Processes: A Figurational Approach to American Studies’, Zentrum für Nordamerika Forschung, Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt, 22–24 November.

‘The American Civilising Process’ (Session C3 on ‘Investigating Empire and Backwardness’), and Discussant, Session B9 on ‘Ideas and Institutions in World History, ’Social Science History Association, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois, 15–18 November.

‘The American Civilising Process – A View from Europe’, Department of Sociology, Boston University and Department of Sociology/Centre for European Studies, Harvard University, both on 14 November.

‘Norbert Elias, “the last Classical Sociologist”, and his relevance to the study of American Society’, CUNY Graduate Centre, New York, and Department of Sociology, Fordham University, New York, both on 12 November.

‘The Weight of History’, Department of Sociology, University of Florence, 16 May.

Lectures given as Visiting Professor, Université de Paris X – Nanterre: 1. ‘Are the Americans civilised? - using Norbert Elias to think about American history’; 2. ‘Violence in the USA’, 3. ‘The Curse of the American Dream’; 4. ‘American Religiosity: why does religion persist in the USA, and is it dangerous?’, January–February.



Keynote Address: ‘Culinary Cultures of Europe: Romance and Reality’, Conference on food and history: health, culture, tourism and identity’, University of Central Lancashire, 30 June.

‘Violence in America in long-term perspective’, Public lecture, University of Chester, 25 January.



‘Diet, taste and the civilising of appetite: a long-term view’, Archaeology Ireland Annual Conference, Stillorgan Park Hotel, Dublin, 13 November.

‘The American civilising process?: changes in violence and aggressiveness’, 37th World Congress of the Institute of Sociology, Stockholm, 5–9 July.

‘The Civilising of Appetite’, Journée d'études: Vers un auto-contrôle généralisé de la santé, du corps et du vivant?, Dialogues autour de Norbert Elias, MSH-Paris Nord, 9–10 June.



‘The American Civilising Process’, Session J06, The United States and Europe in Comparative Perspective, Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Chicago, 20 November.

‘Macrocosm and microcosm: how culinary cultures reflect structures and processes in the wider society’, Université Européenne d’Été: Les cultures alimentaires: definitions, contenus, pertinence (Université François Rabelais de Tours/Institut Européen d’Histoire de l’Alimentation), 8 September.

Session Organiser, Discussant, and Closing Remarks, Session on the Sociology of Food and Drink, Annual Conference of the Dutch and Flemish Sociological Associations, Amsterdam, 22 April.

‘Food and Sociological Theory’, Amsterdam School for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, 20 April.



‘The Civilising of Appetite in the Expanding Anthroposphere’, Stichting Praemium Erasmianum Workshop on changing styles and tastes in cooking and eating in industrial society, Industrieele Groote Club, Amsterdam, 5 November.

‘Tensions between the USA and Europe in Long-Term Perspective’, Department of Sociology, University of Florence, 28 February, and Department of Sociology, University of Oslo, 12 May.

‘Food, Courts and Social Emulation’, Conference: Höfische Gesellschaft und Zivilisationsprozess, Akademie der Diözese Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Stuttgart-Hohenheim, 3 May.



Participant, Conceptual Meeting, Celebrating Europe on the Table: Food, Culture and Diversity, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 22-23 November.

‘Norbert Elias and Group Analysis’ (3 lectures), ‘Back to the Future’: A Study Day on the Work of Norbert Elias, Turvey Centre for Group Analysis, Monastery of Christ Our Saviour, Turvey, Bedfordshire, UK, 5 October.

‘The American Empire’, Ad Hoc Group 002, ‘The Comparative Historical Sociology of Empires’, XV World Congress of Sociology, Brisbane, Australia, 8–12 July 2002.



‘Frontiers and State Formation’ and ‘The Concept of Decivilising Process – Latest Debates’, 6th International Symposium on Civilising Processes – History, Education and Culture, State University of São Paolo, AssisSP, Brazil, 12–14 November.

‘Reflections on the American Civilising Process’, Department of Sociology, Boston University, 22 October.

‘Civilising Processes in America and Europe Compared’, Department of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 18 October.

‘Eating in the public sphere in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries’, 7th ICREFH Colloquium, Alden Biesen, Belgium, 10–14 October.

‘Introduction: reflections on public trust’ and conference organiser, ‘Confiance publique et science de l’alimentation’, Entretiens Franklin, Paris La Défense, 26–7 April. History, Education and Culture, State University of São Paolo, AssisSP, Brazil, 12–14 November.

‘Reflections on the American Civilising Process’, Department of Sociology, Boston University, 22 October.

‘Civilising Processes in America and Europe Compared’, Department of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 18 October.

‘Eating in the public sphere in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries’, 7th ICREFH Colloquium, Alden Biesen, Belgium, 10–14 October.

‘Introduction: reflections on public trust’ and conference organiser, ‘Confiance publique et science de l’alimentation’, Entretiens Franklin, Paris La Défense, 26–7 April.



‘L’étude comparative ces processus de civilisation et de décivilisation’, Colloque International Norbert Elias, Rennes, 13–14 Oct.

‘Anthropologists and Developmental Agnosticism’, Société d’ethnologie française, Metz, 20–22 Sept.

‘Opening Lecture: The Globalisation of Eating’, 9th Annual Multidisciplinary Conference on Food Choice, Trinity College Dublin, 28 July.



‘Time and Habitus’, Institute of Psychiatry, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 12 November.

‘Protestantism and Catholicism in Ireland’ and ‘Civilising and Decivilising Processes’, Methodist University of Piracicaba, Brazil, 10 November.

‘The Sociology of Anorexia Nervosa and other Eating Disorders’, University of Campinas, Brazil, 9 November.

‘Civilising and Decivilising Processes’, University of Campinas, Brazil, 8 November.

‘Established and Outsiders: The Protestant Minority in the Republic of Ireland’, European Sociological Association, Amsterdam, 18–20 Aug.

‘From agrarian to post-industrial elites in one generation? Accelerated social change in Ireland’, Incontri Europei di Amalfi XI: Old and New Elites’, Amalfi, 27–30 May.



‘Elias, Ladurie, Chartier’, Conference: The Civilising Process and Early Modern History, University of Leicester, 14–17 April.

‘Decivilising processes: the state of the debate’, Conférance Norbert Elias: Sommes-nous civilisées? – Bilan du XXesiècle, Société des Gens de Lettres, Paris, 10 April.

‘La spécificité française: réflexion sur la formation des cultures culinaires’, Entretiens Franklin: La malaise alimentaire, Pôle Universitaire Léonard de Vinci Paris La Defense, 8–9 April.



‘La frontière de quoi? La pacification et la democratisation fonctionnelle dans la formation de l’État américain’, Colloque: L’etat parlementaire, Universite de Paris X –Nanterre, 15–16 May.



‘Traditional culinary exchanges between France and Great Britain’, Colloquium: National institutions and cultural identities: comparative international perspectives, Institut International de Paris la Defense, 20–21 January.



‘The Formation of We-Images: A Process Theory’, Theory, Culture & Society 10th Anniversary Conference, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Champion, PA, 16–19 August, and American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, 20–24 August.

‘The Crisis of Europeanness overseas: a view from Australia’, Conference: Europe into the Third Millennium’, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK, April.



‘Civilising and decivilising processes in Europe and Asia’, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Cincinatti, OH, 23–27 August.



Session chairman, Symposium: Coffee in the context of European drinking habits, Jacons Suchard Museum, Zürich, Switzerland, 26–18 October.

‘Civilisation, Europe, and cultural relativism’, Seminar, Department of History, Monash University, Australia, 20 July.



‘Decivilising processes: theoretical significance and some lines for research’, and (with Mike Featherstone) ‘Norbert Elias’s contribution to the sociology of culture’, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, 9–13 August, San Francisco.



‘The sociological study of history: institutions and social development’, Workshop: What has sociology achieved?, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 26–19 November.

‘Divergences and convergences: explaining the development of culinary cultures’, Historical Diet Research in Europe: International Symposium of the Frith Thyssen Foundation [Founding conference of the International Commission for Research into European Food History (ICREFH)], University of Münster, Germany, 16–19 May.



‘Montaigne, civilisation and sixteenth-century European society’, conference on Montaigne and sixteenth-century Europe’, University of Exeter, 19–21 September.



‘Cultural policy and models of society’, UNESCO/Council of Europe Symposium, Burgos, Spain, 3–7 July.



‘Systems analyses of complex societies’, Section N, British Association for the Advancement of Science A