Below are the printed texts and podcast recordings of some lectures by Stephen Mennell.



The Legacy of Leicester

The University of Leicester recognises Norbert Elias as one of the key figures in its intellectual history. In the summer of 2013, Professors Jason Hughes (Leicester) and Stephen Mennell (University College Dublin) recorded a 45-minute podcast about Elias. Listen to it here.


Workshop on Norbert Elias, Humanities Institute of Ireland

Stephen Mennell gave this two-hour workshop in the Humanities Institute of Ireland at UCD on 10 February 2011, for a mixed audience of academics and postgraduates drawn mainly from the humanities disciplines. The audio recording of the workshop may be downloaded along with PDFs of the PowerPoint presentation and of the bibliographical handout.

The lecture focuses principally on The Civilizing Process. The PowerPoint goes further, to an outline of Elias’s sociological theory of knowledge and the sciences, but shortage of time meant that that was only sketchily mentioned at the end of the lecture. 

Audio Recording

PowerPoint PDF

Bibliography PDF


Realism and Reality Congruence: Sociology and International Relations

This lecture was given at the conference on ‘Globalisation and Civilisation in International Relations’ held at the Royal Irish Academy and at UCD on 9-10 April 2010. It was intended both as the closing lecture of the conference and as an Abschiedsvorlesung (or farewell lecture) upon Stephen’s retirement form the chair of sociology at UCD – although in the event it was delivered on the first morning of the conference. In discussing some connections between the disciplines of sociology and international relations, it strikes a critical note, drawing both upon the work of Norbert Elias and on Mennell’s The American Civilizing Process.


Part 1 Podcast

Part 2 Podcast


‘American individualism and its consequences for the world (including the credit crunch)’

This talk was given to the staff/postgraduate seminar at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, on 20 January 2010. It develops some of the themes of Stephen Mennell’s book The American Civilizing Process in the light of the collapse – or at least the discrediting – of the Anglo-Saxon model of casino capitalism in the so-called “credit crunch” of 2008 onwards.




‘History, sociology, theory and the fallacy of misplaced abstractness’

This was delivered on the closing lecture at the first annual postgraduate conference of the University of Bielefeld’s new Graduate School of History and Sociology, on 9-10 February 2009. The overall theme of the conference was ‘End of Messages?: The State of the Dialogue between History and Sociology. The lecture contains some autobiographical reflections on Stephen Mennell’s intellectual development, and some trenchant criticisms of over-abstract theorising and inappropriate types of concept formation in sociology and history. 




UCD Inaugural Lecture

Inaugural lecture given by Stephen Mennell upon appointment to the first Chair of Sociology, University College Dublin, 1995.



'Thinking Allowed' – Eating Chinese – BBC Radio 4, 14 May 2003

Thinking Allowed is Laurie Taylor's long-running radio programme about matters sociological. In this case, I can be heard reminiscing about the first Chinese restaurant to open in my hometown of Huddersfield back in the early 1960s.



'Thinking Allowed' – Nights Out – BBC Radio 4, 2 January 2001

Another conversation with Laurie Taylor.



'Science Bookshop' – Norbert Elias – ABC Radio National, 1 March 1991

Science Bookshop was a weekly Australian Broadcasting Corporation programme introduced by Alan Saunders on serious academic topics. This was the second of two interviews recorded by Alan on the same day at Monash University, this one presenting the work of Norbert Elias to the great Australian public.



'Science Bookshop' – The Sociology of Food – ABC Radio National, 22 February 1991

In this programme, I am joined by the Monash colleague Joanne Finkelstein, author of the book Dining Out. At the very beginning of the programme I can be heard making some trenchant comments about the problems of the modern university and about the compartmentalisation of the human sciences from each other.



In Memory of Norbert Elias, 1897–1990

I gave this lecture at Monash University, Australia, on 28 August 1990, following the death of Elias exactly four weeks previously.



Promotie, University of Amsterdam, 27 September 1985

A Promotie in a Dutch university is the public defence of one's doctoral thesis. In my case, I was defending the book published as All Manners of Food. My promotor or doctorvaader was Joop Goudsblom, and sitting in the middle of the front row of the audience was Norbert Elias. I had entirely forgotten that after the ceremony, the university gave me an audio tape of the proceedings.