Ira Cohen

Ira Cohen


icohen [at]



Office Location

Hill Hall 621

Professor Cohen's major interests include the sociology of action in everyday life, contemporary and classical social theory, the sociology of modernity, and the history of social thought. Professor Cohen’s book, Solitary Action: Acting on Our Own in Everyday Life, is recently published by Oxford University Press. The work marks a new direction in Professor Cohen's research combining theoretical innovations with examples that illustrate the rich diversity and social complexity of solitary action in everyday life. The book proposes a new way of conceiving solitary action as a substantial yet previously unexamined realm of social behavior. Innovating a new model of actions performed by individuals on their own, Professor Cohen distinguishes and brings to life four diverse forms of solitary action: peripatetics, regimens, engrossments, and reflexives. An epilogue distinguishes solitary action from long-term solitary withdrawals from interaction with others. A further publication in this project is: “Three Forms of Deep Solitude: Religious Quests, Aesthetic Retreats, and Withdrawals Due to Personal Distress” in Cultures of Solitude: Loneliness – Limitation – Liberation, Ina Bergmann and Stefan Hippler (eds.). Bern: Peter Lang, forthcoming.

Professor Cohen is well known for his publications on structuration theory. They include: Structuration Theory: Anthony Giddens and the Constitution of Social Life (London: Macmillan/New York: St. Martins). A Spanish translation is also available (Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana); "Structuration Theory" in George Ritzer (ed.) Encyclopedia of Social Theory (London: Sage); "Anthony Giddens" in Rob Stones (ed.) Key Sociological Thinkers (London: Macmillan). (Translated into Farsi). "Structuration Theory and Social Order" in Clark and Modgil (eds.) Anthony Giddens: Critical Assessments (Philadelphia: Falmer); "La sécurité ontologique, la face sociale et la question de la motivation dans la théorie de la structuration" in Michel Audet and Hamid Bouchiki (eds.) Structuration du social et modernité avancée; "Structuration Theory and Social Praxis" in Giddens and Turner (eds.) Social Theory Today (Cambridge: Polity) (Translated into Spanish). "The Status of Structuration Theory" Theory, Culture, and Society.

Professor Cohen has published widely on a variety of other topics in social theory including: "Theories of Action and Praxis" in Bryan Turner (ed.) A Companion to Social Theory: Second Edition (Oxford: Basil Blackwell); "Autonomy and Credibility: Voice as Method" (with Mary F. Rogers) Sociological Theory (November 1994); "The Underemphasis on Democracy in Marx and Weber" (Antonio and Glassman, eds.) A Weber-Marx Dialogue; “Max Weber on Modern Western Capitalism” introductory essay in the Transaction Press edition of Max Weber, General Economic History, pp. XVLXXXIII. Additional publications include articles on Wittgenstein and sociological method and the historical sociology of state intervention.

Professor Cohen served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. He also served as General Editor of the Modernity and Society series for Blackwell Publishers. He serves as an Associate Editor of Theory, Culture, and Society and he served a term as a member of the International Advisory Board of Sociology: The Journal of the British Sociological Association. He was elected to a three-year term as Member of the Council Theory Section, American Sociological Association and he has chaired both the Nominations Committee and the Theory Prize Committee for the section. Professor Cohen has given lectures and classes at: Department of Sociology, Tblisi State University, Republic of Georgia (2002); Department of Sociology, University of Naples Ferderico II, (2008); Department of Sociology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart Milan (2009); Department of Sociology, University of Genoa (2009); Department of Sociology, University of Milan Biccoca (2009); Department of Sociology, University of Pisa (2009).

Courses Taught

American Society

Classical Social Theory

Contemporary Social Theory

The Modern Mind



Ph.D., Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1980


Selected Publications

Ira J. Cohen Solitary Action. New York: Oxford University Press. Forthcoming 2015
Ira J. Cohen "Theories of Action and Praxis." In A Companion to Social Theory, Bryan S. Turner (ed.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 2000 pp. 73-111.
Ira J. Cohen and Mary F. Rogers, "Autonomy and Credibility: Voice as Method." Sociological Theory1995 12:3: pp. 304-318.
Ira J. Cohen, Structuration Theory: Anthony Giddens and the Constitution of Social Life. London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989. Translated into Spanish: Teoría de la Estructuración; Anthony Giddens y la Constitución de la Vida Social. Translated by Ángel Carlos González Ruiz; Iztapalapa: Universidad Auónoma Metropoliatana 1996.
Ira J. Cohen "The Underemphasis on Democracy in Marx and Weber" in A Weber-Marx Dialogue, Robert J. Antonio and Ronald M. Glassman (eds.). Lawrence: University Press of Kansas 1985: pp. 274-299.

Full Curriculum Vitae


Associated Programs

Member of Graduate Faculty in Sociology, New Brunswick

Member of the Graduate Faculty in Peace and Conflict Studies-Newark