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).

The purpose of the association is to promote training and research in the field of systematic theory building and development of methods in the social sciences.

To achieve this purpose, the James Coleman Association develops, a.o., the following activities:

  • The founding of chairs at the four locations of the ICS.
  • The organization of periodic scientific meetings, such as the annual James Coleman symposium.
  • Publication of a newsletter, i.e. the Bulletin James Coleman Association.
  • The entertainment of vivid relations with ICS alumni.


The board of the James Coleman Association consists of:
Marjolein Broese van Groenou (chair)
Rie Bosman (secretary)
Ronald Batenburg
Wim Jansen
Werner Raub
Tom Snijders
Paula Thijs
Thomas Teekens
Christine Timmerman


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 ICS alumini LinkedIn page.


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.

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.

In 2014, 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).

A fourth chair was established in 2015. 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.

Annual report (in Dutch)

Here you can find the the most recent Jaarverslag-James-Coleman-Association-2017 (in Dutch).


In the spotlight

2 awards for article “The Matthew Effect in Science Funding”

Thijs Bol (Associate Professor UvA), Mathijs de Vaan and Arnout van de Rijt (Professor UU) received two awards for their paper “The Matthew Effect in Science Funding”

Read more