Randall Collins

Most Influential Person

American sociologist

Why Is Randall Collins Influential?

Randall Collins is a contemporary social theorist focused on the sociology of intellectuals, politics, and economic change. He earned his B.A. in psychology from Harvard University, under the instruction of Talcott Parsons. He graduated from Stanford University with an M.A. before transferring to University of California, Berkeley to earn an M.A. and Ph.D in sociology.

His book, Interaction Ritual Chains, had a substantial influence on the power of ritual and habit within social structures and interactions. His theory suggests that there are two parts of the linkage between two people: emotional energy and cultural capital, which includes particularized, reputational and generalized cultural capital.

Collins has served on the editorial boards of nearly every major sociological journal. He was awarded the ASA’s Distinguished Scholarship Award for his epoch achievement, The Sociology of the Philosophies. He has taught at the University of California – San Diego, University of Virginia, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, and University of Cambridge. Collins has now retired, but has left a lasting legacy in the field of sociology due to his massive catalog of writings and brilliant theoretical work. He has also enjoyed writing fiction in his free time, including the Sherlock Holmes novel, The Case of the Philosopher’s Ring.

Academic Website

Featured in Top Influential Sociologists Today

According to Wikipedia, Randall Collins is an American sociologist who has been influential in both his teaching and writing. He has taught in many notable universities around the world and his academic works have been translated into various languages. Collins is currently the Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor of Sociology, Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a leading contemporary social theorist whose areas of expertise include the macro-historical sociology of political and economic change; micro-sociology, including face-to-face interaction; and the sociology of intellectuals and social conflict. Collins's publications include The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change , which analyzes the network of philosophers and mathematicians for over two thousand years in both Asian and Western societies. His current research involves macro patterns of violence including contemporary war, as well as solutions to police violence. He is considered to be one of the leading non-Marxist conflict theorists in the United States, and served as the president of the American Sociological Association from 2010 to 2011.

Randall Collins's Published Works

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