Lever, John and Powell, Ryan (2017) ‘Problems of involvement and detachment’: Norbert Elias and the investigation of contemporary social processes. Human Figurations, 6 (2). ISSN 2166-6644

In this paper, we seek to move beyond dominant interpretations of Elias by drawing attention to an increasing body of work in the fields of social and public policy. We engage with debates about secondary forms of involvement to facilitate an appreciation of how this as yet undocumented tranche of empirical work can lead to greater understanding of the negative effects of state/elite policies in the current period. We conclude that by adopting a position of ‘detached involvement’ figurational sociologists can generate reality-congruent knowledge that allows them to make concrete statements about contemporary social processes.

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