Colin Campbell was born in Birmingham in 1940, joined the Rationalist Press Association in 1958 and was co-founder and chair of the Birmingham Humanist Group from 1962 until he moved to take his post as a lecturer in sociology at the new University of York in 1964. His Ph.D. was a study of the Humanist, Ethical and Rationalist Movements in the UK during the 19th and 20th centuries and was the basis for Toward A Sociology of Irreligion, originally published by Macmillan in 1971, and recently reprinted in a revised edition by Alcuin Academics in 2013. Colin was also a Director of the Rationalist Press Association during the 1980s and a regular speaker on Humanism.
As an academic his work embraced the sociology of religion, consumerism, cultural change, and sociological theory. He is probably best-known as the author of The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism (Macmillan 1987, Alcuin Academic edition 2005), while his other well-known publications on consumerism include The Shopping Experience (co-edited with Pasi Falk, Sage, 1997), and "The Craft Consumer: Culture, craft and consumption in a postmodern society", Journal of Consumer Culture 5 (1) 23-41 (2005). In the sociology of religion, in addition to his work on irreligion, he is known for his contributions to work on the cult and the cultic milieu ("The Cult, the Cultic Milieu and Secularisation" A Sociological Yearbook of Religion in Britain 5, 119-36, 1972), while his contribution to sociological theory is evident in The Myth of Social Action (Cambridge University Press, 1996).
His latest work on cultural change is The Easternization of the West (Paradigm Publishers, 2007). The author of several articles on the Beatles, he is also the co-author (with Allan Murphy) of Things We Said Today: The Complete Lyrics and a Concordance to The Beatles' Songs, 1962-1970 (Pierian Press, 1980).
Colin is married with two children and five grandchildren.