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The long view
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-21, 19:19 authored by Kathleen FlanaganKathleen Flanagan, Keith JacobsKeith Jacobs
Back in the late 1980s, Norbert Elias (1987, p. 224) expressed concern that the ‘retreat’ of sociologists into the present moment was leading to the ‘impoverishment’ of the discipline. He argued that ‘[t]he immediate present … constitutes just one small momentary phase within the vast stream of humanity’s development, which, coming from the past, debouches into the present and thrusts ahead toward possible futures’. We do not need to agree with Elias’s aspiration to ‘a universal theory of society’ or consider that such a theory is either possible or desirable to acknowledge his underlying point—that ‘[p]resent conditions may be seen more clearly by comparison with conditions of the past’.
Publication titleHousing Studies
Department/SchoolSchool of Social Sciences
Place of publicationEngland