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Colin was born in Sutton Coldfield in 1940. He obtained his first degree, a BSc. (Econ.), from London University in 1961 and started teaching at the City of Birmingham College of Commerce in the same year. Three years later, in 1964, he moved to York as an Assistant Lecturer in the new combined department of Politics and Sociology. He then obtained his Ph.D., as an external student of the University of London, in 1968.
Colin has been at York ever since, acting as Head of Department from 1990 to 1995, while he has been Emeritus Professor since October 2006. During his period at York Colin has had several spells as a visiting academic at universities at home and abroad. Thus from 1974 to 1976 he was a Visiting Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver; in 1994 he was a Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford; in 1998 he was Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute for Cultural Pluralism in Rio de Janeiro, while in 1999 he was Visiting Research Fellow at the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra.
Colin is married, with two children and five grandchildren, and lives in Fulford.
The problem of explaining cultural change; theories of cultural change; cultural change in the West; Weberian rationalization; cultural change and `the problem of theodicy’; the 1960s counter-culture; bohemianism and youth movements; the Beatles.
Action theory; Max Weber’s theory of action; individual versus social action; the nature and role of motives; action’s relationship to behaviour; habit; agency; action as will; meaning and motive; the role of functional explanation.
Rationalization and theodical change; the New Age and neo-Pagan movements; secularization; cults and the cultic milieu; superstition; the occult; the study of non-believers, atheism and agnosticism
Agency At Work: A Dynamic Interpretive Approach’. Sociology Mind 2 (4): 355-361 (2012).
Limits to Agency: Exploring the Unintended (and Unattended) Consequences of Action pp. 45-62 in Adriana Mica, Arkadiusz Peisert, and Jan Winczorek (eds.) Sociology and the Unintended: Robert Merton Revisited. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2011.
From Romance to Romanticism: The Beatles 1964/5-1970, pp. 15-28 in J. Jarniewicz and A. Kwiatkowska (eds.)Fifty Years With the Beatles: The Impact of the Beatles on Contemporary Culture. Lodz: Lodz University Press, 2010.