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Randall Collins

Randall Collins

Professor Emeritus

Randall Collins is primarily a sociological theorist, whose work spans the entire range from comparative-historical macro sociology to the micro-sociological levels of face-to-face interaction.  Some of his more recent books include The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change (1998), which analyzes philosopher and mathematician networks for over two thousand years in Asian and Western societies in order to document a link between specific types of network structures and variation in levels of creative innovation.  Macro-History: Essays in Sociology of the Long Run  (1999), examines the relationship between military geopolitics and state behavior, including causes of changing ethnic and national identities, the structural determinants of democracy; his early prediction of the breakdown of the Russian empire.  In Interaction Ritual Chains (2004), Professor Collins produces a theory of rituals in everyday life that explains variation in group solidarity, commitment to symbols, and emotional energy in individuals.  In Violence: A Micro-sociological Theory (2008), Collins uses ethnographic observations and fixed media to explain when violence does or does not happen.  Here, Collins details the micro-techniques through which not only violence occurs, but also who wins, loses, or alternatively when violence produces stalemates.  Professor Collins is past President of the American Sociological Association. 


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