Nico Wilterdink (born in Hilversum, The Netherlands, 1946) is emeritus professor of cultural sociology at the University of Amsterdam, Department of Sociology.
Wilterdink studied sociology at the University of Amsterdam (1964-1972) where he continued to work. He obtained there his doctor’s degree (PhD) with honours (cum laude) in 1984. His dissertation is an extensive study of developments in property relations and the distribution of wealth in the Netherlands since the nineteenth century, which was published under the title Vermogensverhoudingen in Nederland (Amsterdam: Arbeiderspers, 1984). A revised, expanded and up-to-date version of this study appeared under the title Vermogensongelijkheid in Nederland (Amsterdam: Van Gennep, 2015).
Wilterdink was Jean Monnet research fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy in 1986-87, and guest professor at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis in 1996. In 1992 he was appointed Norbert Elias professor in the study of long-term social processes at the University of Utrecht, a part-time position he held until 1998. From 1998 till 2001 he was vice director of the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research. In 1999, he was appointed full professor in cultural sociology at the University of Amsterdam, a position he held until his retirement in 2011.
For many years, Wilterdink was an editor of the leading Dutch sociological journal Amsterdams Sociologisch Tijdschrift (1976-2004) and its successor, Sociologie. In July 2008, he moved to the advisory editorial board of the latter journal, which in turn was succeeded by Tijdschrift Sociologie in 2020. At present, he chairman of the editorial board of this journal.
Nico Wilterdink has taken an active role in the international network of figurational sociologistis, inspired by the work Norbert Elias. He was one of the editors of the 19 volumes Gesammelte Schriften (Collected Works) by Norbert Elias, published by Suhrkamp in 1997-2010. He is also the main editor and author of the successful Dutch sociological textbook Samenlevingen (Societies), which appeared in 1985 and had its ninth revised edition in 2022.
Wilterdink’s research and publications cover a wide range of topics. They include long-term trends in socioeconomic (class) inequality as indicated by wealth and income distribution; globalization processes and global inequalities; nationalism, national identities, and images of national character; competition and change in intellectual and cultural fields; cultural distinction; evolutionary mechanisms and processes; and processes of democratization and de-democratization. Theoretically, Wilterdink is particularly interested in exploring the interrelations between sociology and other disciplines, including biology, psychology, history, and economics. The list of publications gives further information about his scholarly interests and activities.