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.
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