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Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Wolfson Fellow

Dr Peter J. Collins, BSc(Econ), MA (Econ), PhD

Emeritus Reader in the Department of Anthropology

(email at


Peter Collins completed an MA in development studies and a PhD in social anthropology at Manchester University. His research interests include religion (especially Quakerism), ritual and symbolism; historical anthropology; qualitative research methods, particularly narrative analysis; the anthropology of Britain; aesthetics and the built environment. He was recently engaged in an NHS-funded projects looking at hospital design and the space and place of hospital chaplaincies.

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2012: AHRC Peer Review College Member:
  • 2010: Adjunct Fellow of the Centre for Cosmopolitan Studies, University of St Andrews.:
  • 2009: Evaluator, Academy of Finland:
  • 2007: External Examiner, All Nations College: Anthropology components of Masters Programmes, All Nations College, 2007-2011
  • 2006: Evaluator, Academy of Finland:
  • 2005: External Examiner, Sussex University:

    Undergraduate Anthropology Programme
    Sussex University (2005-2009)

  • 2002: External Examiner, Birmingham University: External Examiner for MA (Quaker Studies) Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Birmingham (2002-2006)

Research Groups

Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

  • Applied Health Research Special Interest Group

Department of Anthropology

Research Projects

Department of Anthropology

Department of Geography

  • Health Inequalities in an Age of Austerity, Leverhulme Trust Research Leadership Grant, £1 million (2013-2018)

Research Interests

  • Aesthetics
  • Britain, Kenya
  • Hospitals
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Religion, ritual and symbolism
  • Space and place

Selected Publications

Books: authored

  • Collins, P.J. (2010). Quakers and Quakerism in Bolton, Lancashire 1650-1995: The History of a Religious Community. Lampeter Edwin Mellen.

Books: edited

  • Coleman, S.M. & Collins, P.J. (2011). Dislocating Anthropology?: Bases of Longing and Belonging in the Analysis of Contemporary Societies. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.
  • Collins, P.J. & Gallinat, A. (2010). Keeping an Open 'I': The Self as Ethnographic Resource in Anthropology. Oxford: Berghahn.
  • Collins, P.J. & Dandelion, P (2008). The Quaker Condition: the sociology of a liberal tradition. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.
  • Coleman, S. & Collins, P.J. (2006). Locating the Field: space, place and context in anthropology. ASA Monographs Series. Oxford: Berg.
  • Arweck, E.A. & Collins, P.J. (2006). Reading Religion in Text and Context. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Coleman, S. & Collins, P.J. (2004). Religion, Identity and Change: Perspectives on Global Transformations. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Edited works: contributions

  • Collins, P.J. (2010). Religion in Medieval Europe. In Religion in the Practice of Everyday Life. Bondo, V
  • Collins, P.J. (2010). The Cornish. In Ethnic Groups of Europe. Cole, J. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
  • Collins, P.J. (2010). The English. In Ethnic Groups of Europe. Cole, J. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
  • Collins, P.J. (2008). Ritual. In Handbook of the Sociology of Religion. Clarke, Peter.
  • Collins, P.J. (2008). Seclusion. In Encyclopedia of Sex and Society. London: Brown Publishing Group.
  • Collins, P.J. (2008). Symbolism. In Encyclopedia of Sex and Society. London: Brown Publishing Group.

Essays in edited volumes

  • Collins, P.J. (2015). Hauntings: from anthropology of the imagination to the anthropological imagination. In Reflections on Imagination: Human Capacity and Ethnographic Method. Harris, Mark & Rapport, Nigel Ashgate. 99-118.
  • Collins, P.J. (2013). Acute Ambiguity: Towards a Heterotopology of Hospital Chaplaincy. In Social Identities Between the Sacred and the Secular. Day, Abby, Vincett, Giselle & Cotter, Christopher Abingdon, Oxon: Ashgate. 39-60.
  • Collins, P.J. (2013). Text and Context: An Analysis of Hospital Chapel Prayer Requests. In Prayer in Religion and Spirituality. Giordan, Giuseppe & Woodhead, Linda Brill.
  • Collins, P.J. (2012). Ethical Consumption As Religious Testimony: The Quaker Case. In Ethical Consumption: Social Value And Economic Practice. Carrier, James G. & Luetchford, Peter. Oxford: Berghahn. 181-198.
  • Collins, P.J. (2012). On the Materialization of Religious Knowledge and Belief. In Religion and Knowledge. Guest, M. & Arweck, E.A. Ashgate. 247-268.
  • Collins, P.J. (2010). Putting Religion in its Place: Remembering Quaker Sites. In Reveries of Home: Nostalgia, Authenticity and the Performance of Place. Williksen, S. & Rapport, N. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 69-86.
  • Collins, P.J. (2010). Why the Self Is an Ethnographic Resource. In Keeping an Open 'I': The Self as Ethnographic Resource in Anthropology. Collins, P.J. & Gallinat, A. Oxford: Berghahn.
  • Collins, P.J. (2009). The Ecology and Economy of Urban Religious Space: a Socio-Historical Account of Quakers in Town. In When God Comes to Town: Religious Traditions in Urban Contexts. Pinxten, R. & Dikomitis, L. Oxford: Berghahn Books. 4: 45-64.
  • Collins, P.J. (2008). Accommodating the Individual and the Social, the Religious and the Secular: Modelling the Parameters of Discourse in ‘Religious’ Contexts. In In Religion and the Individual: Belief, Practice. Day, A. Aldershot: Ashgate. 143-156.
  • Collins, P.J. & Dandelion, P. (2008). Introduction. In The Quaker Condition: the Sociology of a Liberal Religion. Collins, P.J. & Dandelion, P. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press. 1-21.
  • Collins, P.J. (2008). The Practice of Discipline and the Discipline of Practice. In Exploring Regimes of Discipline: The Dynamics of Restraint. Dyck, N. Oxford: Berghahn. EASA series volume 8.: 135-155.
  • Collins, P.J. (2008). The Problem of Quaker Identity. In The Quaker Condition: the sociology of a liberal tradition. Collins, P.J. & Dandelion, P. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press. 38-53.
  • Collins, P.J. (2007). The Construction of Place as Aesthetic-Therapeutic. In Therapeutic Landscapes: Advances and Applications. Williams, A. Aldershot: Ashgate. 349-366.
  • Coleman, S. & Collins, P.J. (2006). Introduction: 'Being.Where?' Performing Fields on Shifting Grounds. In Locating the Field: Space, Place and Context in Anthropology. Coleman, S. & Collins, P.J. Oxford: Berg. 1-21.
  • Collins, P.J. & Arweck, E.A. (2006). Reading Religion in Text and Context: An Introduction. In Reading Religion in Text and Context: Reflections of Faith and Practice in Religious Materials. Arweck, E.A. & Collins, P.J. Aldershot: Ashgate. 1-16.
  • Collins, P.J. (2006). Reading Religious Architecture. In Reading Religion in Text and Context: Reflections of Faith and Practice in Religous Materials. Arweck, E. & Collins, P.J. Aldershot: Ashgate. 137-156.
  • Coleman, S. & Collins, P.J. (2006). The Shape of Faith (or The Architectural Forms of the Religious Life). In Materializing Religion: Expression, Performance and Ritual. Arweck, E.A. & Keenan, W. Aldershot: Ashgate. 32-44.
  • Collins, P.J. & Dandelion, P. (2006). Wrapped Attention: Revelation and Concealment in Non-conformism. In Materializing Religion: Expression, Performance and Ritual. Arweck, E. & Keenan, W. Aldershot: Ashgate. 45-61.
  • Collins, P.J. (2005). Introduction to key concepts: resources and people. In Studying Local Churches: A Handbook. D. Davies, H. Cameron, F. Ward & P. Richter London: SCM.
  • Collins, P.J. (2004). Congregations, Narratives and Identity: a Quaker Case Study. In Congregational Studies in the UK: Christianity in a Post-Christian Context. M. Guest, T. Tusting & L. Woodhead Ashgate. 99-112.
  • Coleman, S. & Collins, P.J. (2004). Introduction: Ambiguous Attachments. In Religion Identity and Change: Perpectives on Global transformations. Aldershot: Ashgate. 1-25.
  • Collins, P.J. (2002). Both Independent and Interconnected Voices: Bakhtin Among the Quakers. In British subjects: An Anthropology of Britain. Rapport, N.R. Oxford: Berg. 281-298.
  • Collins, P.J. (2002). Connecting Anthropology and Quakerism: Transcending the Insider/Outsider Dichotomy. In Theorising Faith: the Insider/outsider Problem in the Study of Ritual. Arweck, E. & Stringer M.D. Birmingham: Birmingham University Press. 77-95.
  • Collins, P.J. (2001). Virgins in the Spirit: the Celibacy of Shakers. In Celibacy, Culture and Society: The Anthropology of Sexual Abstinence. S. Bell & E. Sobo Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. 104-21.

Journal papers: academic

  • Collins, P.J. & Dandelion, P. (2014). Transition as Normative: British Quakerism as Liquid Religion. Journal of Contemporary Religion 29(2): 287-301.
  • Collins, P.J. (2013). Il y a un autre monde, mais il est dans celui-ci. L'ecologisme quaker. Terrain 60: 74-91.
  • Collins,P.J. & Egorova, Y. (2011). The Anthropology of Religious Controversy: A Masters Level Course. Religion and Society: Advances in Research 2(1): 158-163.
  • Collins, P.J. (2008). A Place For Spirituality and Art In Hospital: Artnaos. Journal for Healthcare Chaplaincy
  • Collins, P.J. (2005). Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Ritual. Journal of Contemporary Religion 20(3): 323-342.
  • Collins, P.J. (2003). Storying Self and Others: The Construction of Narrative Identity. Journal of Language and Politics 2(2): 243-264.
  • Collins, P.J. (2002). Discipline: the Codification of Quakerism as Orthopraxy, 1650-1738. History and Anthropology 13(2): 17-32.
  • Collins, P.J. (2002). Habitus and the Storied Self: religious faith and practice as a dynamic means of consolidating identities. Culture and Religion 3(2): 147-161.
  • Collins, P.J. (2002). Research Ethics or the Pedagogics of Hurdling. Anthropology in Action 9(3): 20-24.
  • Collins, P.J. (2001). GPs and Stress Discourse: A Preliminary Report. Anthropology in Action 8(2): 36-44.
  • Collins, P.J. (2001). Quaker Plaining as Critical Aesthetic. Quaker Studies 5 (2): 121-39.
  • Simon Coleman & P.J.Collins (2000). The Plain and the Positive: Ritual, Experience and Aesthetics in Quakerism and Charismatic Christianity. Journal of Contemporary Religion 15: 317-329.
  • Collins, P.J. (1999). The Embodiment of 17th century Quakerism: an essay in historical anthropology. Quaker Studies 4(2): 113-141.
  • Collins, P.J. (1998). Quaker Worship: An Anthropological Perspective. Worship 72(6): 501-515.
  • Bell, S. & Collins, P.J. (1998). Religion and the Performance of Silence. Quaker Studies 3(1): 1-26.
  • Collins, P.J. (1996). Auto/biography, Narrative and the Quaker Meeting. Auto/biography 4(2/3): 27-38.
  • Coleman, S. & Collins, P.J. (1996). Constructing the Sacred: the Anthropology of Architecture in the World Religions. Architectural Design 124: 14-18.
  • Collins, P.J. (1996). Plaining: The Social and Cognitive Practice of Symbolisation in the Religious Society of Friends. Journal of Contemporary Religion 11(3): 277-288.

Journal papers: online

Reports: official

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Admissions & college affairs: admissions of disabled applicants

Selected Grants

  • 2005: NHS Estates ‘Pathfinders’ Grant £76,500 (NHS 'Chaplaincies' in a Multifaith Society. With S. Coleman, M. White, P. Kellett, J. MacNaughton).
  • 2004: British Academy ‘Small Grant’ £3,900.
  • 2004: RE-LOCATING ANTHROPOLOGY? (£1600.00 from The British Academy)
  • 2003: British Academy Conference grant £1,600 (with S. Coleman).
  • 2001: NHS Estates £80,000 (Designing for Health, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough. With S. Coleman, M. White, P. Kellett, J. MacNaughton & G. Purves)
  • 1995: Nuffield Foundation £5,000 (Job Stress, Gender and health in Cleveland. With T. Pollard)
  • 1995: University of Durham Grant £5,200 (Job Stress, Gender and health in Cleveland. With T. Pollard)