University Profiles

Lonnie Athens

Lonnie Athens, D.Crim


Criminal Justice Department


Rhodes' dubbing Prof. Athens as the maverick criminologist brought national attention to his research on violence.

Lonnie Athens' main professional interests are in criminology; domination,violence, and conflict; and naturalistic methods. He is the author of two books : The Creation of Dangerous Violent Criminals and Violent Criminal Acts and Actors Revisited, both of which have been re-published and reprinted several times. He also co-edited a third book, Violent Acts and Violentization: Assessing, Applying and Developing Lonnie Athens' Theories and edited several special issues of Studies in Symbolic Interaction. In addition, he has published dozens of articles that appeared in journals, such as The American Sociologist, Sociological Quarterly, International Journal of Group Tensions, Journal of Classical Sociology, Journal for Theory of Social Behavior, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Cultural Studies<-> Critical Methodologies, Qualitative Inquiry, International Review of Qualitative Research, Symbolic Interaction, Studies in Symbolic Interaction, and Migration World. Although Athens has spent most of his professional life in academics, he has also worked in a variety of capacities in the criminal justice system, including as an expert witness in murder trials. His work was mentioned on an episode of T.V. series, "Law and Order" and many times in the New York Times.

Presentation at IV Conference of the European Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, 28-30 August 2013, Uppsala, Sweden. View the video »


  • D.Crim., University of California at Berkeley
  • M.S., University of Wisconsin at Madison
  • B.S., Virginia Tech

Academic Distinctions

  • Winner of George Herbert Mead Award for Career Achievements from Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction
  • Winner of Scholar of the Year Award for Physical and Social Scientists from Seton Hall University
  • Past President of Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction
  • Advisory Editor for Symbolic Interaction (since 2004)
  • Editor of the "Blue-Ribbon Paper" Series published in Studies in Symbolic Interaction (since 2007)
  • Advisory Editor for Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 
  • Member of Scientific Committee for International Society for Psychology and Law (since 2008)
  • Life and work subject of 3 books: Richard Rhodes' Why They Kill: The Discoveries of a Maverick Criminologist; Adolfo Ceretti's and Lorenzo Natali's, The Cosmology of Violent Actors: The Unknown Perspective of Lonnie Athens; Andrea Pannocchia's The Deviant Communication, Journey to the Discovery of a Borderline Sociologist, the Violentization Theory of Lonnie Athens.



Office Phone
(973) 275-5885


Office Location
Room 212
Arts & Sciences Hall


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