Knowledge by the Slice: Charisma for Everyone? (Video)

Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor in Sociology Randall Collins looks at the ingredients that make up social magnetism.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

By Susan Ahlborn

Can you learn to be charismatic? Randall Collins, the Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor in Sociology, discusses what characteristics Steve Jobs, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Napoleon had in common in this Knowledge by the Slice lecture on Micro-Sociological Ingredients of Charismatic Leadership.

Collins’ research focuses on networks and relationships. In his 18 books, he has examined what causes creativity in philosophy, and how everyday rituals strengthen individuals and groups. He has also written on the relationship between state expansion and breakdown, and in 1980 predicted the collapse of the Russian empire. In developing his micro-sociological theories of violence and now of charisma, Collins uses data from photos and videos as well as close ethnographic observations. His theory shows why some persons win, lose, or keep their distance, and when they create attunement and social energy. He periodically presents new findings on his blog: The Sociological Eye.