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Randall Collins, Ph.D. (born 1941) is the Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Advisory Editors Council of the Social Evolution & History Journal. He is considered to be one of the leading non-Marxist conflict theorists in the United States,[1] and is President-Elect of the American Sociological Association.



  • 1963 A.B. Harvard College
  • 1964 M.A., Psychology, Stanford University
  • 1969 Ph.D., Sociology, University of California Berkeley


  • Sociological Theory
  • Macro-Historical Sociology of Political and Economic Change
  • Micro-Sociology: Face-to-Face Interaction
  • Sociology of Intellectuals (sociology of knowledge)
  • Social Conflict (Especially Violent Conflict)

Writing career

Earlier in his academic career, Collins left academia on several occasions to write fiction. One of his novels is The Case of the Philosopher’s Ring, featuring Sherlock Holmes. [1]


  • 2008. Violence. A micro-sociological Theory. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691133131
  • 2004. Interaction Ritual Chains. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691123896
  • 2004. “Rituals of solidarity and security, and processes of mass hysteria, in the wake of terrorist attack.” Sociological Theory 21
  • 2003. “A Network-location Theory of Culture.” Sociological Theory 21: 69-73.
  • 2003. “Fuller, Kuhn, and the Emergent Attention Space of Reflexive Studies of Science.” Social Epistemology 17: 145-150.
  • 2003. “Sociology and Philosophy.” in Craig Calhoun, Chris Rojek, and Bryan Turner (eds.) International Handbook of Sociology. London: Sage.
  • 2003. “The Durkheimian Movement in France and in World Sociology.” in Jeffrey Alexander and Phil Smith (eds.) The Cambridge Companion to Durkheim. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • 2003. “Mann’s Transformation of the Classical Sociological Traditions.” In John A. Hall and Ralph Schroeder (eds.), An Anatomy of Power: The Social Theory of Michael Mann. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • 2002. “Introduction.” with Mauro Guillen, Paula England, Marshall Meyer. in The New Economic Sociology: Developments in an Emerging Field. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
  • 2002. "On the Acrimoniousness of Intellectual Disputes". Common Knowledge 8: 47-70.
  • 2002. “Geopolitics in an Era of Internationalism." Social Evolution and History Journal vol. 1
  • 2002. "Conflict Theory and Interaction Ritual: the Microfoundations of Conflict Theory." (with Jörg Rössel) In Jonathan Turner (ed.), Handbook of Sociological Theories. New York: Plenum Publishers.
  • 2002. “Credential Inflation and the Future of Universities.” In Steve Brint (ed.), The Future of the City of Intellect. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Excerpted in Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 2002.
  • 2002. “Black’s Contributions to a General Theory of Conflict.” [review essay] Contemporary Sociology 31: 655-58.
  • 2000. "Comparative and historical patterns of education." In Maureen T. Hallinan (ed.), Handbook of the Sociology of Education. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 213-239.
  • 2000. "Situational Stratification: A Micro-macro Theory of Inequality." Sociological Theory 18
  • 1999. Macro-History: Essays in Sociology of the Long Run. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • 1998. The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University. ISBN 0674001877 (Russian edition 2002. Italian, Chinese, and Spanish editions forthcoming. Esmail Yazdanpour is now translating it into Persian.)
  • 1998. "Democratization in World-Historical Perspective." In Ralph Schroeder Weberian Political Sociology: Democracy, Nationalism and Modernization. London: Macmillan.
  • 1985-1994. "Four Sociological Traditions." Oxford University Press, Inc. ISBN 0-19-508208-7.
  • 1979. The Credential Society: An Historical Sociology of Education and Stratification. New York : Academic Press. ISBN 0121813606.
  • 1975. Conflict Sociology: Toward an Explanatory Science. New York: Academic.


  1. ^ Hurn, Christopher J. The Limits and Possibilities of Schooling.


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