HSR Vol. 41 (2016) 3
Special Issue - Jason Hughes & John Goodwin (Eds.): Figurational Analysis as Historical and Comparative Method: Established–Outsider Relations
This special issue is concerned principally with the approach to historical and comparative research developed by Norbert Elias. Previous discussions of Elias’s figurational methods and problems of methodology have characteristically focused on the model of time series analysis of informal data sources best exemplified in his magnum opus, On The Process of Civilisation. More recently, other writers have sought to formalise Elias’s methodological approach as a whole, distilling the key elements of his various methods to a number of core analytical procedures. Here our aim with this special issue is to complement and extend such existing work, considering the enduring reach and breadth of Elias’s ‘figurational’ analysis through a focus on his study together with John Scotson of established–outsider figurations in a suburban community in the city of Leicester, UK. The model of established–outsider relations has been extended to inter alia the development of inter- and intra-state conflicts; the formation and collapse of supranational entities and authorities; plus the tensions between globally distributed communities. This collection of papers explores the enduring conceptual and empirical utility of Elias and Scotson’s study in relation to a range of cases which highlight its significance to historical social research. Contributions include, amongst others, considerations of ‘established-outsider figurations,’ ‘double-binds’ and ‘decivilising processes’ in relation to ‘Jihadist terrorists’, the sociogenesis of ‘the museum’, the complexities of established-outsiders relations in Canada, health promotion interventions in a Danish high school, and the social integration of gypsy-travellers/Roma.
The articles of this HSR Forum refer to the transfer project T03 “Knowledge Transfer as Intercultural Translation: Development of Exemplary Practices of Transformation-preparing Activities in Korea”, funded from 2013 to 2015 by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Ministry of Unification of the Republic of South Korea. During this co-working project, empirical results of the German unification process as well as theory-based approaches which may explain these processes were outlined, and their relevance to possible developments on the Korean peninsula was discussed with Korean cooperation partners. The articles of this HSR Forum contain synopses of these discourses on selected fields of social, political, and economic change. Seven arenas of German experience are focused: (1) privatization and leading management (2) development of labour markets, (3) entrepreneurship, (4) political and administrative decentralization, (5) psychosocial coping with system changes, (6) generations and social structures in socialist and postsocialist countries, and (7) change of elites. In doing so, lines of development and path dependencies are included that date back to times before the transition phase. All reflections and presented empirical results are embedded in the current state of international transition research. German experiences are not understood as the one and only ‘blueprint’ for further developments in Korea, but are particularly reflected in regard to existing differences between Korea and Germany. Inter alia, the introduction to the collection of articles generally outlines the topics of intercultural knowledge transfer.