Vol. 8 No. 16 (2018): Varieties of Professionalism in a Globalising World: New Theoretical Perspectives and Analytical Approaches
Eliasian Themes

Towards process-figurational theory in organization studies

Robert Van Krieken
University of Sydney, Australia & University College Dublin, Ireland

Published 2019-03-12


  • Norbert Elias,
  • organization,
  • process,
  • relation,
  • figuration,
  • habitus,
  • civilizing process
  • ...More

How to Cite

Van Krieken, R. (2019). Towards process-figurational theory in organization studies. Cambio. Rivista Sulle Trasformazioni Sociali, 8(16), 141–157. https://doi.org/10.13128/cambio-23911


This paper outlines the significance of Elias’s work as an alternative solution for many of the core conceptual problems in organization studies as well as the distinctive contribution of The Court Society, sketches the main elements of the ways in which his ideas have been taken up by organisation scholars to date, concentrating on a selection of studies drawing on Elias, and concludes with some reflections on the future directions that process-figurational theory might take in organization studies. The core line of argument is that Elias provides a range of powerful theoretical resources to transcend many of the problems usually addressed through the work of Foucault, actor-network theory, postmodernist and post-structuralist theory, especially the supposed agency/structure problem, constituting an alternative and effective analysis of organizational life that is anchored in the relational and processual strands of classical sociological theory.


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