Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology

James Coleman Association

The James Coleman Association was founded in 2002 on the occasion of the third lustrum of the ICS (1986-2001).

Connect researchers in Sociology

The purpose of the association is to:

  • found James Coleman Chairs
  • build and maintain vivid relations with ICS alumni
  • connect researchers in academia and researchers in the field of policy and practice
  • address societal topics from a sociological point of view

Scientific meetings, such as the annual James Coleman Symposium, addressing a societal topic, stimulate achieving these goals and enable ICS PhD students to meet senior sociologists who work in different fields of Sociology (academia and non-academia). The founding of the James Coleman Chairs also stimulates cooperation between sociologists.


Membership of the James Coleman Association is open for friends of the ICS, but especially for current and former ICS members. More information can be found on this application form: Application form JCA. Contact us by email via

Check also the JCA LinkedIn page.


Historical Sociology | prof. dr. Marco van Leeuwen (2005-2009)
In 2005 the first James Coleman chair was established at Utrecht University. Marco van Leeuwen, who defended his impressive dissertation ‘Bijstand in Amsterdam, ca. 1800 – 1850. Armenzorg als beheersings- en overlevingsstrategie’ (cum laude, 1990) was appointed on this Chair for Historical Sociology for 5 years. In 2009, Marco van Leeuwen was appointed full professor in Historical Sociology, also from Utrecht University.

Sociology, Modelling of Decision making and Policy Implementation | prof. dr. René Torenvlied (2009-2014)
The second James Coleman chair was established in Groningen in 2009. René Torenvlied was appointed on the chair Sociology, Modelling of Decision making and Policy Implementation, again for 5 years. Torenvlied defended his PhD in 1996 (‘Besluiten in uitvoering.Theorieen over beleidsuitvoering modelmatig getoetst op sociale vernieuwing in drie gemeenten’). In 2011, René Torenvlied was appointed full professor in Leiden on the chair of Public Sector Management. As of 2013, Torenvlied is full professor in Public Management at Twente University.

Sustainable Cooperation, specifically in collective labour relations | prof. dr. Agnes Akkerman (2014-2019)
A third James Coleman chair was established, again at the University of Groningen. As of January 1st, 2015, Agnes Akkerman is appointed on the chair Sustainable Cooperation, specifically in collective labour relations. Agnes Akkerman defended her thesis in 2000 (‘Verdeelde vakbeweging en stakingen. Concurrentie om leden). Agnes Akkerman combines her chair with an associate professorship at the VU University Amsterdam (Sociology), and at the Radboud University Nijmegen (Political Science).

Mathematical Sociology | prof. dr. Marcel van Assen (2015-2020/2020-2025)
Marcel van Assen was appointed as Professor of Mathematical Sociology at Utrecht University. Marcel van Assen defended his thesis ‘Essays on actor perspectives in exchange networks and social dilemmas’ in 2001 at the University of Groningen. In Spring 2020 this chair was prolonged with another 5 years, until May 2025.

Intergroup Social Cleavages | prof. dr. Jochem Tolsma (2021-2026)
Jochem Tolsma is appointed special professor at University of Groningen. Jochem Tolsma defended his PhD thesis ‘Ethnic Hostility Among Ethnic Majority and Minority Groups in The Netherlands.‘ in 2009 with distinction (‘cum laude’) at Radboud University Nijmegen. Jochem Tolsma combines his Groningen appointment with his position as associate professor at Radboud University and ICS-Nijmegen.


The board of the James Coleman Association consists of:
Beate Volker (chair)
Tobias Stark (secretary)
Ronald Batenburg
Borja Martinovic
Maikel Meijeren
Werner Raub
Müge Simsek
Tom Snijders
Thomas Teekens
Paula Thijs
Christine Timmerman (until March 10, 2023)
update 6-03-2023

Annual report

The annual report of 2022 is available here.
The annual report of 2021 is available here.

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