Dr. Manning received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Virginia. A theoretical sociologist who seeks to develop general explanations of human behavior, his work focuses primarily on conflict and social control, including various means of expressing grievances, handling disputes, and punishing offenses.
Within this area he specializes in violent conflict, particularly in self-destructive forms of violence such as such as protest suicide, homicide-suicide, and suicide terrorism. He has also published on changing patterns of conflict and social control ("moral cultures") on college campuses, such as calls for administrations to combat microaggressions and other offensive speech. His other interests include the sociology of science, sociology of religion, and neoDarwinian theories of culture.