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Dr. D. (Don) Weenink

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Programme group: Cultural Sociology

  • About Don Weenink

    My prime interest is in what people do when they are in the presence of others, and how these small scale social interactions shape and are shaped by longer lasting and more widespread social divisions and social realities people live by. Social divisions pertain to differences in opportunities and resources between social categories, notably age, class, ethnicity, gender and race. Social realities are shared beliefs that exert a coercive power on people. Their social constructedness is mostly taken for granted, and they are acted upon as external facts.

    I am currently writing a book that applies these interests to interpersonal violence. Provisionally entitled 'The social reality of violence', the book integrates research findings from my Group Violence research programme funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant. The book offers up-close analyses of various forms of interpersonal violence, such as between youth, police and civilians, security guards and patrons, arranged fights and lynchings to demonstrate that these forms of interpersonal violence can be understood as future oriented trajectories (rather than momentarily emotional outbursts), which differ with regard to the degree of ritualization, openness to intervention by third parties, and the social realities and social divisions they (re)produce and contest.

    In my work in progress with Jeroen Bruggeman, we applied a mathematical model of collective action to detailed video analysis of street fights. The data confirm the model's predictions that cooperation under conditions of high uncertainty takes the form of a burst in which a majority of group members swiftly follows initiative takers, unless over one quart of group members intervenes to disrupt the cooperation. See our paper here.

    In an earlier project with Raheel Dhattiwala and David van der Duin we used video analysis to show how egalitarian urban public spaces are facilitative to collective intervention behaviour in violent incidents (published in British Journal of Criminology). With Asif Muhammad, we developed a theory that outlines how the ritualistic form of vigilante violent action is shaped by and shapes beliefs about moral community, social divisions and political conflict, published in European Journal of Criminology. Recent prior work focused on emotions, bodily action, dominance and situational asymmetries in various forms of violence, such as forms of (extreme) youth violence, robberies (together with Floris Mosselman and Marie Lindegaard) and work place aggression and violence in homeless shelters (together with Laura Keesman). These studies appeared in British Journal of Sociology, Figurations, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Sociological Forum, and Journal of social Work.

    In 2016 Gert Spaargaren, Machiel Lamers, and I published Practice Theory and Research. Exploring the Dynamics of Social Life. This books brings together methodological, theoretical and empirical contributions showing the merits of prioritizing social practices --what people do and say when they collectively engage in changing their environment-- to study a variety of social processes. 

    Prior research I conducted was on various forms of inequality in education and in the judicial system. Together with Ali de Regt, we published a book, Investeren in je kinderen and several articles (in Amsterdams Tijdschrift voor Sociologie, Mens & Maatschappij, Journal of Education Policy) on private education in the Netherlands. In my doctoral thesis Upper Middle-Class Resources of Power in the Education Arena defended in 2005, I analysed the relationship between fractions of the upper middle class and differentiation within the highest level of Dutch secondary education. Parts of the thesis appeared a.o. in International Sociology, Sociology, Journal of Education Policy and Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales. Furthermore, my prior research on the unequal treatment of ethnic minorities in the Dutch judicial system (published in British Journal of Criminology) has resulted in an ongoing research interest in law as a social practice and how it contributes to and is influenced by social divisions. With Peter Mascini and Irene van Oorschot, we publised on the (gendered) negotiation of remorse in Dutch courts in Social and Legal Studies and on inequalities in sentencing types in Recht der Werkelijkheid.

  • The Group Violence Research Programme

    The Group Violence research programme aims to understand how group behaviour affects the likelihood and severity of violence in public space. While the prevailing social scientific focus remains on individual perpetrators and background factors, the empirical reality of public violence is one of multiple attackers, multiple victims and multiple bystanders. The research proposed here furthers the study of violence with a novel theory that identifies how group behaviour affects the outcome of antagonistic situations – and with comparative empirical studies to test the theory. The central question is how and to what extent 1) mutual alignment of attention and action, and 2) a sense of moral community enable group members to commit violence. Project 1 (PI and post-doc) considers mutual alignment down to the minutest detail, based on close-up qualitative and quantitative video analyses of sequences of bodily cues. Based on judicial case files, project 2 (PI and assistants) will quantitatively analyse mutual alignment in an extensive range of violent interactions. Four PhD projects compare the role of mutual alignment and moral community in antagonistic situations in groups that differ from each other in these respects: police teams (project 3), street youth (4), football hooligans (5), and bouncers (6). Relying on an innovative method to reconstruct antagonistic situations by repeated and comparative qualitative interviewing, projects 3-6 will also relate the meanings of violence and masculine identity to the moral community of the group. Project 7 (PI and post-doc) uses qualitative and statistical analyses of the interview data generated in projects 3-6 for an extensive comparison of group behaviour in antagonistic situations. The ambition is to produce exemplary understanding of the crucial role that groups play in violence. This proposal shows how: through detailed and extensive comparative empirical testing that will further develop the new theory.

  • Education

    I teach the following courses:

    - Sociological Theory 1: Social Interactions and Interdependencies, see the course guide

    - Group Violence (part of the minor Violence)

    - Structural Violence (part of the minor Violence)

  • Publications


    • Asif, M., & Weenink, D. (2022). Vigilante rituals theory: A cultural explanation of vigilante violence. European Journal of Criminology, 19(2), 163-182. [details]
    • Keesman, L. D., & Weenink, D. (2022). Feel it Coming: Situational Turning Points in Police-Civilian Encounters. Historical Social Research, 47(1), 88-110. [details]
    • Weenink, D., Dhattiwala, R., & van der Duin, D. (2022). Circles of Peace. A Video Analysis of Situational Group Formation and Collective Third-Party Intervention in Violent Incidents. British Journal of Criminology, 62(1), 18–36.





    • Lamers, M., Spaargaren, G., & Weenink, D. (2016). Conclusion: the relevance of practice theory for researching social change. In G. Spaargaren, D. Weenink, & M. Lamers (Eds.), Practice Theory and Research: Exploring the Dynamics of Social Life (pp. 229-242). Routledge. [details]
    • Spaargaren, G., Lamers, M., & Weenink, D. (2016). Introduction: Using practice theory to research social life. In G. Spaargaren, D. Weenink, & M. Lamers (Eds.), Practice Theory and Research: Exploring the Dynamics of Social Life (pp. 3-27). Routledge. [details]




    • Weenink, D. (2013). Pupils' Plans to Study Abroad: Social Reproduction of Transnational Capital? In J. Gerhards, S. Hans, & S. Carlson (Eds.), Globalisierung, Bildung und grenzüberschreitende Mobilität (pp. 111-126). Wiesbaden: Springer VS. [details]


    • Weenink, D. (2012). Les stratégies éducatives des classes supérieures néerlandaises. Professions intellectuelles supérieures, managers et entrepreneurs face au choix entre capital classique et capital cultural cosmopolite. Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, (Mars), 28-39.


    • Weenink, D. (2011). Delinquent Behavior of Dutch Rural Adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, (9), 1132-1146.


    • Weenink, D. (2009). Creating a Niche in the Education Market: The Rise of Internationalised Education. Journal of Education Policy, 24(4), 495-511.
    • Weenink, D. (2009). Een neurosociologisch perspectief op emoties. Sociologie, 2, 244-256.
    • Weenink, D. (2009). Explaining Ethnic Inequality in the Juvenile Justice System. An Analysis of the Outcomes of Dutch Prosecutorial Decision-making. British Journal of Criminology, 49, 220-242.


    • Weenink, D. (2008). Cosmopolitanism as a Form of Capital. Parents Preparing Their Children for a Globalizing World. Sociology, 6, 1089-1106.



    • Mascini, P., van Oorschot, I., Weenink, D., & Schippers, G. (2016). Understanding judges’ choices of sentence types as interpretative work: An explorative study in a Dutch police court. Recht der Werkelijkheid, 37(1), 32-49. [details]
    • Spaargaren, G., Weenink, D., & Lamers, M. (Eds.) (2016). Practice Theory and Research: Exploring the Dynamics of Social Life. London: Routledge. [details]
    • Vosman, F., den Bakker, J., & Weenink, D. (2016). How to Make Sense of Suffering in Complex Care Practices? In G. Spaargaren, D. Weenink, & M. Lamers (Eds.), Practice Theory and Research: Exploring the Dynamics of Social Life (pp. 117-130). Routledge. [details]
    • Weenink, D. (2016). Praxeologizing street violence: an attempt to understand the teleological and normative-affective structure of violent situations. In G. Spaargaren, D. Weenink, & M. Lamers (Eds.), Practice Theory and Research: Exploring the Dynamics of Social Life (pp. 104-116). Routledge. [details]
    • Weenink, D., & Spaargaren, G. (2016). Emotional Agency Navigates a World of Practices. In G. Spaargaren, D. Weenink, & M. Lamers (Eds.), Practice Theory and Research: Exploring the Dynamics of Social Life (pp. 60-84). Routledge. [details]


    • Weenink, D. (2015). Dominantiestrijd en vernederingspel: een microsociologische analyse van jeugdgeweld. In I. Weijers, & C. Eliaerts (Eds.), Jeugdcriminologie: achtergronden van jeugdcriminaliteit (2e ed., pp. 333-354). Boom Lemma. [details]


    • Weenink, D. (2013). Decontrolled by solidarity: understanding recreational violence in moral holidays. Human Figurations, 2(3). [details]


    • Weenink, D., & Bock, B. B. (2009). Sociale cohesie en samenwerking in kleine kernen. Een kritisch perspectief op plattelandsbeleid. In D. Huitema, M. Griethuizen, B. Van Steur, & E. Weststeijn (Eds.), Hoezo, samen? Amsterdam: Rozenbergh Publishers.


    • Weenink, D. (2019). De gift en het bureaucratisch paradijs: Een sociologisch commentaar bij Van Horzen. NTFR. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Fiscaal Recht, 2019(36), [2180]. [details]




    • Weenink, D. (2013). Types of Youth Violence: Their Meanings of Severity. Paper presented at 108th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, . [details]


    • Weenink, D. (2019). Research fellowship Institut d'etudes avancees de Paris.
    • Weenink, D. (2016). ERC Consolidator Grant.
    • Weenink, D. (2015). ERC Consolidator Grant 2015.

    Media appearance

    Talk / presentation

    • Weenink, D. (speaker) (31-5-2018). Forms of Violence, Department of Social Science, Free University Brussels.
    • Weenink, D. (speaker) (7-5-2018). Informalization and Violence, Laboratoire interdisciplinaire d’etudes sur les réflexivités/Institut Marcel Mauss, L’Ecole de hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris. .


    • Weenink, D. (host) (10-4-2018 - 11-4-2018). Clifford Stott (hosting a visitor).
    • Weenink, D. (host) (20-8-2017 - 24-8-2017). J. Katz (hosting a visitor).
    • De Keere, K. (organiser), Weenink, D. (organiser), Velthuis, O. J. M. (organiser) & van Venrooij, A. T. (organiser) (19-6-2017 - 20-6-2017). Cultural Sociology Lowlands, 2017, Amsterdam (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Weenink, D. (participant) (6-4-2017 - 7-4-2017). Interactionist Analyses of Violence, Amsterdam. Workshop Interactionist Analyses of Violence (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Weenink, D. (host) (1-5-2016). Randall Collins (hosting a visitor).
    • Weenink, D. (host) (20-4-2016 - 25-4-2016). Randall Collins (hosting a visitor).



    • Kayhan, M. (2021). Civil-military relations in Turkey: A critical investigation in the light of mentalities. [details]
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • No ancillary activities