American Criminology Meets Collins: Global Theory of Intellectual Change and a Policy-Oriented Field

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Abstract

Ideas from Randall Collins's Sociology of Philosophies are applied to U.S. criminology, a policy-oriented field and one case of differentiation out of a fragmented sociological discipline. Building on previous quantitative work, in-depth interviews with eight prominent scholars provide the empirical material. As in philosophy, vertical network ties are important. Yet, they may take different forms, with consequences for the shape of horizontal networks and the nature of scholarship. Comparable to philosophy, horizontal network ties provide social capital and opportunities for interaction rituals that generate collective effervescence and emotional energy. Further, the nature of these interactions is dependent on the changing institutional environment in which they are embedded. Such institutional settings, themselves affected by changes in the political economy, also provide material resources, constituting dependencies that produce mediated effects and, in this policy-oriented field, also direct effects on the nature of scholarship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-44
Number of pages24
JournalSociological Forum
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

Keywords

  • Criminology
  • Interaction rituals
  • Knowledge
  • Networks
  • Science
  • Social policy

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