Sociologizing with Randall Collins: An interview about emotions, violence, attention space and sociology

Alex van der Zeeuw, Laura Keesman, Don Weenink (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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In the interview in this article, Randall Collins discusses various aspects of his oeuvre. First, he considers why interaction rituals (IRs) in religion are special emotional transformers. This is followed by a discussion of IRs in the digital age and the symbolic and economic power that is required to orchestrate IRs in politics and revolutions. Then comes a discussion of social scientific research into violence, in the past and more recently. The interview continues with a reflection on the notion of attention space, a concept which Collins has applied in analyses of violent interactions and the intellectual struggles between philosophers. Finally, the article considers the state of the art of sociology and its future prospects, evaluating its potential for rapid discovery and its position on the abstraction-reflexivity continuum. As the interview demonstrates Collins’s insightful sociological craftsmanship, it provides social scientists with a strong and optimistic lead in how to do social theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-259
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean journal of social theory
Issue number2
Early online date20 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Interaction rituals
  • IR theory
  • Micro-sociology
  • Sociology of violence
  • Collins

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