Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu

Distinguished Lecture Series

The Distinguished Lecture Series brings eminent and influential guest speakers to Cardiff University and a wider audience to showcase their work.

The series has the specific objective of contributing to the establishment and consolidation of Cardiff's international reputation for academic impact.

Distinguished Lecture Series Home


Randall Collins

Randall Collins

Violence as emotional dominance: Micro-sociological causes

Watch again

Randall Collins is Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and will give the next Cardiff University Distinguished Lecture.

Emotional dominance of one's opponent is the key to what happens in violence-threatening situations.  The main emotion observed in such situations is confrontational tension/fear, and this makes most violence blustering and incompetent; most physical damage happens after one side establishes emotional dominance. Hence most successful violence looks like an atrocity. The lecture will consider what causes emotional dominance; prolonged struggles over dominance and their pathways to "forward panic" overkill against defeated victims; stalemates in which emotional dominance is never established and the contest winds down; and emotional stalemates resulting in prolonged war of attrition.  Micro-sociological evidence incorporates visual images and close observation of emotional expression, time-sequences of events, subjective phenomenology, and physiological correlates. Practical advice is suggested for dealing with violent situations.

To reserve a place at Professor Collins’ lecture please email publicbookings@cardiff.ac.uk or call 029 2087 6935.