The Society of Individuals in N. Elias Figuration Sociology

Šubrt I.

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Assoc. Prof., Head of the Department of Historical Sociology, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

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Šubrt I. The Society of Individuals in N. Elias Figuration Sociology. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2015. No 11. P. 139-148


An issue having been resolved by N. Elias are relationships of individual and society. While critically assessing both answers to this issue given by sociolosists of his time: indivdualism of Weber postulating humans as the basis of sociological thinking and Durkheim’s holism seeing this basis in the society as a whole, that is supra-individual social facts, Elias sees both answers as one-sided. His strategy is closer to that of G. Simmel, who had stressed something ‘third’ – what is located between individual and society combining both in a certain way. To designate this ‘third’ Simmel uses the term “Wechselwirkung”, and Elias speaks of figurations. The paper discusses to what degree this strategy was a success, its positive traits and resultant probloems.

sociology; sociological theory; society; individual; individualism; holism; figuration
Content No 11, 2015