Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge (New in Paperback)

Overview

"Accessible to all readers. . . . [T]he book's aim of understanding social systems through a combination of game theory and history provides substantial insight."—Masahiro Aoki, Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo

"This is a very compelling and original work. It is the best conceptual book I have read in economics in several years. It will have an immediate and enthusiastic readership in the social sciences and will make Chwe's name as an important ...

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Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge

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Overview

"Accessible to all readers. . . . [T]he book's aim of understanding social systems through a combination of game theory and history provides substantial insight."—Masahiro Aoki, Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo

"This is a very compelling and original work. It is the best conceptual book I have read in economics in several years. It will have an immediate and enthusiastic readership in the social sciences and will make Chwe's name as an important thinker."—Tyler Cowen, George Mason University

"Rational Ritual is engaging, well organized, and well written. It brings together the tools of game theory and the issues posed within a wide variety of areas of contemporary social theory to address an important problem. Students and scholars in diverse academic disciplines—including political science, sociology, anthropology, and some areas of cultural studies—will find the book both relevant and accessible."—David Ruccio, University of Notre Dame

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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 Börgers, Economica

"An innovative and broad-ranging book."—Alfred Stepan, Comparative Politics

New York Times
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
Journal of Economic Literature
A welcome addition. . . . Rational Ritual . . . can be understood and enjoyed by almost anyone interested in human interaction.
— Vincent P. Crawford
Economica
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 Börgers
Comparative Politics
An innovative and broad-ranging book.
— Alfred Stepan
New York Times - Virginia Postrel
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.
Journal of Economic Literature - Vincent P. Crawford
A welcome addition. . . . Rational Ritual . . . can be understood and enjoyed by almost anyone interested in human interaction.
Economica - Tilman Borgers
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.
Comparative Politics - Alfred Stepan
An innovative and broad-ranging book.
Economica - Tilman Börgers
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.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691158280
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 152
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

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).

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Table of Contents

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

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