Stephen Mennell: Remembering Johan Goudsblom. [Abstract]

This paper is the slightly revised text of the opening address of the conference on “Long-Term Processes in Human History: A Tribute to Johan Goudsblom,” held in Amsterdam on 17-19 March 2022. It pays tribute to the Dutch sociologist Johan Goudsblom (1932–2020), leader of the Amsterdam School of Sociology and major champion of the work of Norbert Elias. The author sketches Goudsblom’s early life and reminisces about his own debt to Goudsblom as a friend and mentor. Tribute is paid to the extraordinarily wide range of Goudsblom’s interests, his prolific output as a sociologist and essayist, and the number of postgraduate theses he supervised. The connecting thread running through all his work was a concern with long-term social processes and the inseparability of sociological thinking and historical evidence. The breadth of his learning is especially obvious in his magnum opus, the book Fire and Civilization, and his late multidisciplinary collaborations in the study of ecological regimes.

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