Rational Ritual (häftad)
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Häftad (Paperback)
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Rev ed
Princeton University Press
8 halftones. 23 line illus. 3 tables.
222 x 133 x 12 mm
204 g
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1:B&W 5.5 x 8.5 in or 216 x 140 mm (Demy 8vo) Perfect Bound on Creme w/Gloss Lam

Rational Ritual

Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge

Häftad, Engelska, 2013-05-21
208 kr
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Why do Internet, financial service, and beer commercials dominate Super Bowl advertising? How do political ceremonies establish authority? Why does repetition characterize anthems and ritual speech? Why were circular forms favored for public festivals during the French Revolution? This book answers these questions using a single concept: common knowledge. Game theory shows that in order to coordinate its actions, a group of people must form "common knowledge." Each person wants to participate only if others also participate. Members must have knowledge of each other, knowledge of that knowledge, knowledge of the knowledge of that knowledge, and so on. Michael Chwe applies this insight, with striking erudition, to analyze a range of rituals across history and cultures. He shows that public ceremonies are powerful not simply because they transmit meaning from a central source to each audience member but because they let audience members know what other members know. For instance, people watching the Super Bowl know that many others are seeing precisely what they see and that those people know in turn that many others are also watching. This creates common knowledge, and advertisers selling products that depend on consensus are willing to pay large sums to gain access to it. Remarkably, a great variety of rituals and ceremonies, such as formal inaugurations, work in much the same way. By using a rational-choice argument to explain diverse cultural practices, Chwe argues for a close reciprocal relationship between the perspectives of rationality and culture. He illustrates how game theory can be applied to an unexpectedly broad spectrum of problems, while showing in an admirably clear way what game theory might hold for scholars in the social sciences and humanities who are not yet acquainted with it. In a new afterword, Chwe delves into new applications of common knowledge, both in the real world and in experiments, and considers how generating common knowledge has become easier in the digital age.
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Fler böcker av Michael Suk-Young Chwe

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    Game theory--the study of how people make choices while interacting with others--is one of the most popular technical approaches in social science today. But as Michael Chwe reveals in his insightful new book, Jane Austen explored game theory's co...

Recensioner i media

"Communal activities, with lots of emotional and symbolic content ... serve a rational purpose, argues Michael Suk-Young Chwe... [His] work, like his own academic career, bridges several social sciences."--Virginia Postrel, New York Times "A welcome addition... Rational Ritual ... can be understood and enjoyed by almost anyone interested in human interaction."--Vincent P. Crawford, Journal of Economic Literature "Chwe's work contains a gem of an idea... The originality of Chwe's thinking, and his courage in stepping over the boundaries of academic disciplines, deserve admiration."--Tilman Borgers, Economica "An innovative and broad-ranging book."--Alfred Stepan, Comparative Politics

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Övrig information

Michael Suk-Young Chwe is Associate Professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of Jane Austen, Game Theorist (Princeton).


List of Figures and Tables ix Preface xiii 1. Introduction 3 What This Book Is Good For 3 The Argument 8 Coordination Problems 11 Common Knowledge 13 Where the Argument Comes From 16 2. Applications 19 Ceremonies and Authority 19 How Do Rituals Work? 25 Inward-Facing Circles 30 On the Waterfront 33 Believe the Hupe 37 The Price of Publicity 49 Strong Links and Weak Links 61 The Chapel in Panopticon 66 3. Elaborations 74 Competing Explanations 74 Is Common Knowledge an Impossible Ideal? 76 Meaning and Common Knowledge 79 Contesting Common Knowledge 83 Common Knowledge and History 87 Common Knowledge and Group Identity 91 4. Conclusion Appendix. The Argument Expressed Diagrammatically 101 References 113 Afterword to the 2013 Edition 127 Index 135