Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Dr Richard Kilminster

Honorary Research Fellow in Sociology

Although formally retired and no longer teaching, I continue to research and publish and remain connected with the sociological community at Leeds. My intellectual development over the years has taken me into fundamental issues in sociological theorising and to the borderlines with philosophy, evolutionary biology and psychoanalysis, directions which continue to inspire my reflections.

Research Interests

The history of sociology; the Enlightenment; the sociology of philosophy; the sociology of knowledge; and the life and work of Norbert Elias, whose work in my view offers a powerful and testable synthesis of perspectives. Since 2005 I have been closely involved, as Chair of the Editorial Advisory Group, in the production of the English edition of the Complete Works of Norbert Elias in 18 volumes for publication by University College Dublin Press in conjunction with the Norbert Elias Foundation, Amsterdam. I am sole editor of two of the volumes so far published (Early Writings 2006 and The Symbol Theory 2011), co-editor of the three volumes of Essays (2008-09) and the revised edition of Elias’s magnum opus, Über den Prozess der Zivilisation, retitled as On the Process of Civilisation (2012).

I am currently researching and publishing on a range of themes: the history of sociology as a sociology of sociology; assessing the theoretical advances of the classics; a reappraisal of the idea of ‘critique’ from the Enlightenment to Marx and beyond; and the implications for sociology of Elias’s theory of involvement and detachment.

Key Publications

Selected Recent Publications (A complete list appears on my website.)

Kilminster, R. (1998) The Sociological Revolution: From the Enlightenment to the Global Age, Routledge, reprinted 2000, paperback 2002.

Kilminster, R. (2007) Norbert Elias: Post-philosophical Sociology, London, Routledge.


Kilminster, R. (2004) ‘From Distance to Detachment: knowledge and self-knowledge in Elias’s theory of involvement and detachment’, in (eds) Stephen Loyal and Steven Quilley, Norbert Elias: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press.

Kilminster, R, (2008) ‘Narcissism or Informalization? Christopher Lasch, Norbert Elias and Social Diagnosis’, Theory, Culture and Society, Vol 25(3), pp 131—151.

Kilminster, R, (2010) ‘Transcendentalism and Identity’, in Ronald Lee Jackson II (ed) The Encyclopedia of Identity, Volume II, London, Sage Publications, pp 838—841

Kilminster, R, (2011) ‘Norbert Elias’s Post-Philosophical Sociology: From “Critique” to Relative Detachment’, in Stephen Mennell and Norman Gabriel (eds) Norbert Elias and Figurational Sociology, Sociological Review Monograph Series, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell

Kilminster, R. (2012) ‘Modernizing’, in (eds) Steve Matthewman, Catherine Lane West-Newman & Bruce Curtis, Being Sociological, second edition, Basingstoke, Palgrave-Macmillan.

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