By continuing to browse Collins’ current work includes macro patterns of violence including contemporary war, as well as solutions to police violence. Thus, Collins demonstrates how empirical studies on state formation and social stratification have fostered development of sociological knowledge over time. Collins is currently Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. With his two children often in tow (who somehow managed to entertain themselves), we discussed theory and began a series of lifelong arguments from which I have learned a great deal. To reduce its myriad complexities to causal order requires theory on another level of analysis. His most recent books are Bourdieu’s Theory of the State: A Critical Introduction (Palgrave, 2017) and State Power and Asylum Seekers (Palgrave, 2018, with Steve Quilley). The interaction ritual chains involve social mechanisms through which individuals and groups generate symbols of group membership that increase their individual and collective emotional energies. A sociologist who concentrated on theory, with an encyclopedic knowledge of world history and in particular intellectual history, I regard him as a candidate for greatest intellectual of the 20th century whom no one outside his field knows. In Violence: A Micro-Sociological Theory (2008) Collins shows how even the most individualist forms of violence, such as assassinations, suicide bombings or sniper shootings, entail a substantive degree of ritualism and collective interaction. What, according to Collins, are the weaknesses of the Functionalist approach? For more information view the SAGE Journals Sharing page. Weberian Sociological Theory. Randall Collins has probably influenced me more than any other writer. His theory includes both _____ and _____ components. ↑ Collins, Randall (2015). in psychology at Stanford (1964); and Ph.D. at University of California, Berkeley (1969), where he studied with Herbert Blumer, Erving Goffman, and Reinhard Bendix. Randy is a true intellectual, but he also knows how to have a good time and enjoy life. The level of interpersonal interaction is all-inclusive; by the same token, it is highly abstract. Armies have also utilised new technologies to extend the distance between the soldiers that shoot at each other so as to prevent the traumatic emotional responses of individuals experiencing the act of killing and injuring others. AB from Harvard College, MA from Stanford (in psychology), and MA and PhD from Berkeley (in sociology). The Credential Society: A 1979 book by Randall Collins which argues that public schools are social institutions that teach and reward middle class values of competition and achievement. Dr. Randall Collins is an American sociologist who has been influential in both his teaching and writing. For Collins violent encounters generate similar human responses that are characterised by confrontational tension and fear. The first two represent extremes in terms of the varieties of capitalism while the latter two represent developing societies. In contrast Collins shows persuasively that education has very limited impact on the existing patterns of social stratification and that the continuous increase in educational credentials is not related to job requirements. at Harvard 1963 (where he studied with Talcott Parsons); M.A. Randall Collins, Emile Durkheim, Erving Goffman, theory, Max Weber Introduction Randall Collins is arguably one of the world’s leading social theorists and probably the He read my papers quickly and offered many comments and suggestions, and I also read his. 1986. Randall Collins:A Smart and Influential Theorist. What emerges from this history is a social theory of intellectual change, one that avoids both the reduction of ideas to the influences of society at large and the purely contingent local construction of meanings. The e-mail addresses that you supply to use this service will not be used for any other purpose without your consent. Some society journals require you to create a personal profile, then activate your society account, You are adding the following journals to your email alerts, Did you struggle to get access to this article? Several scholars have written individual contributions on some aspects of Collins’s work but there has been only one publication so far that systematically analyses Collins’s scholarly achievements – Weininger, Lareau and Lizardo (2019). This requires a more rigorous understanding of nationalism as an organisationally, ideologically and micro-interactionally grounded phenomenon. Thus, in Max Weber: A Skeleton Key (1985), the Weberian Sociological Theory (1986), and Macro-History: Essays in Sociology of the Long Run (1999), and many articles and book chapters published in this period, Collins advances a conflict and status-centred analysis of social relations. Sociology Department . It is under attack from individualism, behaviourism, and actor-network theory, which focuses on material objects. in psychology at Stanford (1964); and Ph.D. at University of California, Berkeley (1969), where he studied with Herbert Blumer, Erving Goffman, and Reinhard Bendix. Interaction Ritual Chains is a major work of sociological theory that attempts to develop a radical microsociology. ): Frontiers of Social Theory. I am sure members will enjoy the 2011 ASA Annual Meeting for which Randy has chosen the theme, "Social Conflict: Multiple Dimensions and Arenas.". This approach conceptualises human beings as social and conflict-driven creatures focused on maximising their social status positions. Siniša Malešević is a full professor/chair of Sociology at University College, Dublin. Randy and I began to socialize frequently in the late 1970s when he was in San Diego and I still lived on the coast in Orange County. Sign in here to access free tools such as favourites and alerts, or to access personal subscriptions, If you have access to journal content via a university, library or employer, sign in here, Research off-campus without worrying about access issues. Collins, Randall. This site uses cookies. His Durkheimian focus on symbols and rituals as well as Weberian foregrounding of geo-politics integrates a macro and micro focus, which examines nationalism in terms of effervescent time-bubbles and has been of tremendous significance for the study of nationalism. Nevertheless, even this comprehensive edited volume focuses only on the micro-sociological aspects of Collins’s work while largely ignoring much of his more numerous macro-sociological contributions. He received a B.A. Even though he commuted from San Diego a day or two a week, we still managed to have many discussions, often with graduate students, about issues pertaining to sociological theory. The most successful networks combine effective and relatively centralised organisational structures with clearly articulated and active intellectual positions involved in continuous debates with competing intellectual networks, as was the case with the ancient Greek and Chinese schools of thought or the networks of scholars in the Islamic world between the 8th and 13th centuries. For Mann, Collins’s work is problematical in that it focuses on the emotional states of soldiers, diminishing the organisational bases of military efficiency or the ‘frictions of battle’, and because he sees violence as morally repugnant to human beings. This introduction to a special issue outlines the significance of Randall Collins’s contribution to sociology. In addition, he has held many visiting positions at elite universities and institutes in the United States and around the globe. And yet, argues sociologist Randall Collins, they and much else in our social lives are driven by a common force: interaction rituals. Office Address: University of Pennsylvania . However, despite this wide intellectual and cross-disciplinary appeal there has not been much critical assessment of Collins’s contribution to sociology. Credentialism and educational inflation are any of a number of related processes involving increased demands for formal educational qualifications, and the devaluation of these qualifications. The book challenges the conventional views that identify great discoveries and novel ideas with unique talents and experiences of brilliant individuals and shows that new interpretative horizons are inevitably collective processes involving relatively small networks of socially interdependent scholars. Consequently, the institutions and organisations that coordinate actions of large numbers of individuals tend to be shaped by similar incentives – to enhance their status and prestige. Philadelphia PA 19104-6299 U.S.A. phone: 215-573-6176 . We begin with Michal Mann. --Jane Kilby, Times Higher Education "Insofar as his analysis has sought to highlight its micro-situational aspects, he must be applauded. Interaction Ritual Chains is a major work of sociological theory that attempts to develop a “radical microsociology.” Hence most human beings are reluctant to engage in violent encounters, and when compelled to take part in such violent situations they are usually inept or even paralysed by fear. These and many other organisational developments were introduced to overcome the universal confrontational tension and fear that is triggered by violent encounters. Even those sociologists who analysed its underpinning and mechanisms tended to focus on its derivation from state-formation. Thesis Eleven Pty, Ltd., SAGE Publications, Introduction to special issue: The sociology of Randall Collins, Emotion, interaction and the structure-agency problem: Building on the sociology of Randall Collins, Grounding nationalism: Randall Collins and the sociology of nationhood, Weininger, EB, Lareau, A, Lizardo, O (eds) (. Randall Collins. Randall Collins:A Smart and Influential TheoristProfessor Randall Collins has had a remarkable career. In Contemporary Populist Politics through the Macroscopic Lens of Collins’ Conflict Theory, Ralph Schroeder argues that although Collins is a leading historical sociologist, especially evident in his early macro-oriented work focusing on conflict, he fails to tie together and explain the interplay between the various strands of his thinking centred on economic change, the role of geo-politics and social movements. Randall Collins traces the movement of philosophical thought in ancient Greece, China, Japan, India, the medieval Islamic and Jewish world, medieval Christendom, and modern Europe. This micro-sociological research is balanced with Collins’s continuous interest in the macro-sociology of organised violence, including a number of recent journal articles and chapters on war, revolutions, time-dynamics of crowd violence, forward panic, geopolitics and fighting efficacy. His first academic job at the University of Wisconsin, first promoted at the University of California-San Diego, then professor at the University of Virginia, senior professor at the University of … On the other hand, our third conflict theorist, Randall Collins, is much less concerned with orienting his work around Parsons’s project. To reduce its myriad complexities to causal order requires theory on another level of analysis. Randall Collins is Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor of Sociology at University of Pennsylvania. We would sometimes meet in places where one of us happened to be for an afternoon or day. And, despite the long commute from San Diego (at times staying over night at my place) and his constant travels all over the world, he was not, in any intellectual sense, "absent." Collins is currently Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. Randall Collins: Conflict & Geopolitical Theory Conflict theory has a long history in sociology. Military organisations have also devised different weapon systems that can be navigated collectively and, in this way, can maintain a degree of group solidarity that would stimulate collective war efforts. These theoretical books have also played a significant role in helping Collins articulate a powerful analytical model to explain large-scale social change. His work has been highly influential within and outside sociology. Hence by zooming in on the different intellectual traditions and on the ways new interpretative frameworks are generated, Collins devised a unique theory of intellectual change that explores not only how new knowledge is created but also how and why some theories gain influence while others remain invisible. The book attempted to question the conventional understandings of education as a fair and successful vehicle of social mobility as well as the functionalist idea that increases in the number of highly educated graduates reflected greater demand from the expanding social system. Randall Collins is Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor of Sociology at University of Pennsylvania. Sociological Insight is a short book, subtitled… Randall Collins is best-known for his path-breaking books that have defined several fields of sociology, including Conflict Sociology: Toward an Explanatory Science (1975), The Credential Society (1979), Weberian Sociological Theory (1986), Theoretical Sociology (1988), The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change (1998), Interaction Ritual Chains (2004), Violence: A Micro-Sociological Theory (2008), and Napoleon Never Slept: How Great Leaders Leverage Social Energy (2015) (with Maren McConnell). In the final paper, ‘Grounding Nationalism: Randall Collins and the Sociology of Nationhood’, Siniša Malešević examines the relative, though by no means absolute, neglect of nationalism in the work of the classical sociologists. Weblinks In the last paper Randall Collins thoughtfully reflects and responds to the ideas and arguments of all these papers, pointing to developments and misunderstandings in his impressive oeuvre. View or download all the content the society has access to. He argued that Thus to circumvent this almost universal human response to violence coercive social organisations, such as the state, militaries, police, insurgencies or terrorist outfits, among others, had to devise different techniques to make individuals efficient and willing fighters. More specifically, Collins argues that ‘interaction ritual chains’ underpin much of human micro-level relations. 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