Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Violence as Emotional Dominance: Micro-sociological causes

Starts: 26 September 2013

Professor Randall Collins

Professor Randall Collins

We are delighted that eminent sociologist Professor Randall Collins is delivering a Cardiff University Distinguished Lecture 

Violence as Emotional Dominance: Micro-sociological causes

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. We 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.

Randall Collins is Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor of Sociology at University of Pennsylvania. He was President of the American Sociological Association from 2010 to 2011.  Among his publications are Violence: a Micro-Sociological Theory (2008) Interaction Ritual Chains (2004); Macro-History: Essays in Sociology of the Long Run (1999); and The Sociology of Philosophies: a Global Theory of Intellectual Change (1998).

The lecture takes place at the Birt Acres lecture theatre, Bute Building, Cardiff University, CF10 3NB on 26th September. 

A pre-lecture reception commences at 5.30pm on the first floor foyer, followed by the lecture at 6.00pm. 

To reserve a place at Professor Collins’ lecture please email or call 029 2087 6935.

Cardiff University’s high-profile Distinguished Lecture Series brings eminent and influential guest speakers to the University and a wider audience to showcase their work. Please visit the Distinguished Lecture Series web pages for more information


Other information

Open To: Public
Staff and Students