Is Rational Choice Theory All of Social Science?

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Author: Mark I. Lichbach

Publisher: University of Michigan Press

ISBN: 9780472024858

Category: Political Science

Page: 336

View: 8610

Advocates of rational choice theory in political science have been perceived by their critics as attempting to establish an intellectual hegemony in contemporary social science, to the detriment of alternative methods of research. The debate has gained a nonacademic audience, hitting the pages of the New York Times and the New Republic. In the academy, the antagonists have expressed their views in books, journal articles, and at professional conferences. Mark I. Lichbach addresses the question of the place of rational choice theory in the social sciences in general and in political science in particular. He presents a typology of the antagonists as either rationalist, culturalist, or structuralist and offers an insightful examination of the debate. He reveals that the rationalist bid for hegemony and synthesis is rooted in the weaknesses, not the strengths, of rationalist thought. He concludes that the various theoretical camps are unlikely to accept the claimed superiority of the rationalist approach but that this opposition is of value in itself to the social sciences, which requires multiple perspectives to remain healthy. With its penetrating examination of the assumptions and basic arguments of each of the sides to this debate, this book cuts through the partisan rhetoric and provides an essential roadmap for the future of the discipline. Mark I. Lichbach is Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland.

Rational Choice Theory

Resisting Colonisation

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Author: Margaret S. Archer,Jonathan Q. Tritter

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134546521

Category: Social Science

Page: 272

View: 1890

Rational Choice Theory is flourishing in sociology and is increasingly influential in other disciplines. Contributors to this volume are convinced that it provides an inadequate conceptualization of all aspects of decision making: of the individuals who make the decisions, of the process by which decisions get made and of the context within which decisions get made. The ciritique focuses on the four assumptions which are the bedrock of rational choice: rationality: the theory's definition of rationality is incomplete, and cannot satisfactorily incorporate norms and emotions individualism: rational choice is based upon atomistic, individual decision makers and cannot account for decisions made by ;couples', 'groups' or other forms of collective action process: the assumption of fixed, well-ordered preferences and 'perfect information' makes the theory inadequate for situations of change and uncertainty aggregation: as methodological individualists, rational choice theorists can only view structure and culture as aggregates and cannot incorporate structural or cultural influences as emergent properties which have an effect upon decision making. The critique is grounded in discussion of a wide range of social issues, including race, marriage, health and education.

Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory

A Critique of Applications in Political Science

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Author: Donald Green,Ian Shapiro

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 9780300066364

Category: Political Science

Page: 239

View: 1821

A critical evaluation of the use of rational choice theory in political science. In this text, the authors assess this theory where it is believed to be most useful: the study of collective action, the behaviour of political parties, and phenomena such as voting cycles and prisoners' dilemmas.

The SAGE Handbook of Social Science Methodology

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Author: William Outhwaite,Stephen Turner

Publisher: SAGE

ISBN: 1446206459

Category: Social Science

Page: 640

View: 6067

"An excellent guidebook through different approaches to social science measurement, including the all-important route-maps that show us how to get there." - Roger Jowell, City University "In this wide-ranging collection of chapters, written by acknowledged experts in their fields, Outhwaite and Turner have brought together material in one volume which will provide an extremely important platform for consideration of the full range of contemporary analytical and methodological issues." - Charles Crothers, Auckland University of Technology This is a jewel among methods Handbooks, bringing together a formidable collection of international contributors to comment on every aspect of the various central issues, complications and controversies in the core methodological traditions. It is designed to meet the needs of those disciplinary and nondisciplinary problem-oriented social inquirers for a comprehensive overview of the methodological literature. The text is divided into 7 sections: Overviews of methodological approaches in the social sciences Cases, comparisons and theory Quantification and experiment Rationality, complexity and collectivity Interpretation, critique and postmodernity Discourse construction Engagement. Edited by two leading figures in the field, the Handbook is a landmark work in the field of research methods. More than just a 'cookbook' that teaches readers how to master techniques, it will give social scientists in all disciplines an appreciation for the full range of methodological debates today, from the quantitative to the qualitative, giving them deeper and sharpen insights into their own research questions. It will generate debate, solutions and a series of questions for researchers to exploit and develop in their research and teaching.

The Handbook of Rational Choice Social Research

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Author: Rafael Wittek,Tom A.B. Snijders,Victor Nee

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804785503

Category: Social Science

Page: 624

View: 979

The Handbook of Rational Choice Social Research offers the first comprehensive overview of how the rational choice paradigm can inform empirical research within the social sciences. This landmark collection highlights successful empirical applications across a broad array of disciplines, including sociology, political science, economics, history, and psychology. Taking on issues ranging from financial markets and terrorism to immigration, race relations, and emotions, and a huge variety of other phenomena, rational choice proves a useful tool for theory- driven social research. Each chapter uses a rational choice framework to elaborate on testable hypotheses and then apply this to empirical research, including experimental research, survey studies, ethnographies, and historical investigations. Useful to students and scholars across the social sciences, this handbook will reinvigorate discussions about the utility and versatility of the rational choice approach, its key assumptions, and tools.

Rational Choice Theory and Religion

Summary and Assessment

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Author: Lawrence A. Young

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134953496

Category: Social Science

Page: 256

View: 7762

Rational Choice Theory and Religion considers one of the major developments in the social scientific paradigms that promises to foster a greater theoretical unity among the disciplines of sociology, political science, economics and psychology. Applying the theory of rational choice--the theory that each individual will make her choice to maximize gain and minimize cost--to the study of religion, Lawrence Young has brought together a group of internationally renowned scholars to examine this important development within the field of religion for the first time.

Choice and Religion

A Critique of Rational Choice Theory

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Author: Steve Bruce

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 9780198295846

Category: Social Science

Page: 247

View: 8346

People of the western world now have unprecedented freedom to choose their religion. In this book, the world's leading sociologist of religion argues that the liberty and freedom to choose religion corrodes faith and that religion remains most vital when it is part of ethnic and national identity.

Rational Choice and Social Exchange

A Critique of Exchange Theory

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Author: Anthony Heath

Publisher: CUP Archive

ISBN: 9780521290531

Category: Political Science

Page: 194

View: 2343

This 1976 book provides a systematic exposition of the principle components of exchange theory, and goes on to give a critique of these theories, paying particular attention to the success of their empirical applications. It concludes that exchange theory has an important part to play in the development of social science.

Principles of Politics

A Rational Choice Theory Guide to Politics and Social Justice

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Author: Joe Oppenheimer

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107014883

Category: Philosophy

Page: 278

View: 1161

This book presents the rational choice theories of collective action and social choice, applying them to problems of public policy and social justice. Joe Oppenheimer has crafted a basic survey of, and pedagogic guide to, the findings of public choice theory for political scientists. He describes the problems of collective action, institutional structures, regime change, and political leadership.

Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy

The Cold War Origins of Rational Choice Liberalism

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Author: S.M. Amadae,Sonja Michelle Amadae

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226016542

Category: Political Science

Page: 401

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Offering a fascinating biography of a foundational theory, Amadae reveals not only how the ideological battles of the Cold War shaped ideas but also how those ideas may today be undermining the very notion of individual liberty they were created to defend.

Family Theories

An Introduction

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Author: James M. White,David M. Klein,Todd F. Martin

Publisher: SAGE Publications

ISBN: 148332169X

Category: Social Science

Page: 368

View: 470

The Fourth Edition of James M. White, David M. Klein, and Todd F. Martin’s best-selling Family Theories: An Introduction offers a thorough and accessible approach to the most current perspectives in family theory. Rich in detail yet exceptionally concise, the text's analytical structure draws from such major theoretical frameworks as social exchange and choice, symbolic-interaction, family life course development, systems, conflict, feminism, and ecology to explain variation in families. Thoroughly updated, this new edition helps readers connect theory to everyday life.

Varieties of social explanation

an introduction to the philosophy of social science

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Author: Daniel Little

Publisher: Westview Pr

ISBN: 9780813305653

Category: Philosophy

Page: 258

View: 2365

"Professor Little presents an introduction to the philosophy of social science with an emphasis on the central forms of explanation in social science: rational-intentional, causal, functional, structur"

Rational Choice Theory and Organizational Theory

A Critique

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Author: Mary Zey

Publisher: SAGE

ISBN: 9780803951365

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 137

View: 1821

This book addresses a question central to organizational analysis: Given the well-established differences between rational choice and organizational theories, what are the limits of fruitful dialogue and collaboration between the two fields? Rational Choice Theory and Organizational Theory is written in response to the neoclassical economic rational choice theories and organizational economic theories which have emerged in the past decade. Rational choice theory exemplifies a highly abstract, deductive approach characterized by the development of models based on deliberately, rigidly simplified assumptions. In contrast, Mary Zey argues that the empirical validity of the structure of organizations

Rational Choice

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Author: Jon Elster

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 0814721699

Category: Philosophy

Page: 266

View: 3697

This series brings together a carefully edited selection of the most influential and enduring articles on central topics in social and political theory. Each volume contains ten to twelve articles and an introductory essay by the editor.

Choosing an Identity

A General Model of Preference and Belief Formation

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Author: Sun-Ki Chai

Publisher: University of Michigan Press

ISBN: 9780472107018

Category: Political Science

Page: 344

View: 6198

Challenges the conventional rational choice approaches with one that allows for cultural diversity and change

Rational choice theory

advocacy and critique

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Author: James Samuel Coleman,Thomas J. Fararo

Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc

ISBN: N.A

Category: Philosophy

Page: 232

View: 9844

Rational Choice Theory is one of the few general theories of how individuals, groups, organizations and social structures behave - its impact on sociological theorizing has been enormous. In this volume, advocates and critics present their views of the values and limitations of rational choice theory. Whether supporter or sceptic, sociologists and other social scientists will find themselves immersed in a creative discussion of the merits and difficulties of the model and its applicability to both macro and micro level social issues.

Rational Choice Marxism

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Author: T. Carver,P. Thomas

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1349241830

Category: Political Science

Page: 338

View: 8687

To begin with, rational choice Marxism, promised to construct historical explanations and social theories with clarity and rigour. Subsequently, it took a `political turn' in addressing issues of class and production, and the prospects for electoral socialism. This anthology commences with the founding classics - Erik Olin Wright's `What is Analytical Marxism?' and Alan Carling's spirited challenge to the Marxist establishment - which are answered with critical responses detailed by Ellen Meiksins Wood and Michael Burawoy in previously uncollected debates. Also included are further debates charting the historical progression of rational choice Marxism. The editors demonstrate that the clarity and rigour originally promised by the rational choice Marxists was never in fact achieved, but that rational choice Marxism has considerably enhanced the theoretical treatment of class and production in a world of commodification and difference.

Rational Choice Theory

Potential and Limits

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Author: Lina Eriksson

Publisher: Macmillan International Higher Education

ISBN: 0230343791

Category: Political Science

Page: 296

View: 574

Few approaches in political science have generated so much controversy as rational choice theory. Some claim that the approach has made political science scientific. Its critics argue that it involves unrealistic assumptions about individual behaviour. While its tenets and benefits remain the subject of heated debate, rational choice theory is now established as a core approach in political science and one that is vital for contemporary students of the discipline to understand. With an impressive degree of clarity, the book introduces the philosophical foundations, the methodology and the key issues of rational choice theory. It shows how the approach has been constructively used to explain political phenomena and also reflects more broadly on how theories are developed and used in political science. Balanced and insightful, this important new text gives a nuanced and elegant evaluation of the potential and limits of rational choice theory.

The Mystery of Rationality

Mind, Beliefs and the Social Sciences

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Author: Gérald Bronner,Francesco Di Iorio

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319940287

Category: Philosophy

Page: 259

View: 5502

This book contributes to the developing dialogue between cognitive science and social sciences. It focuses on a central issue in both fields, i.e. the nature and the limitations of the rationality of beliefs and action. The development of cognitive science is one of the most important and fascinating intellectual advances of recent decades, and social scientists are paying increasing attention to the findings of this new branch of science that forces us to consider many classical issues related to epistemology and philosophy of action in a new light. Analysis of the concept of rationality is a leitmotiv in the history of the social sciences and has involved endless disputes. Since it is difficult to give a precise definition of this concept, and there is a lack of agreement about its meaning, it is possible to say that there is a ‘mystery of rationality’. What is it to be rational? Is rationality merely instrumental or does it also involve the endorsement of values, i.e. the choice of goals? Should we consider rationality to be a normative principle or a descriptive one? Can rationality be only Cartesian or can it also be argumentative? Is rationality a conscious skill or a partly tacit one? This book, which has been written by an outstanding collection of authors, including both philosophers and social scientists, tries to make a useful contribution to the debates on these problems and shed some light on the mystery of rationality. The target audience primarily comprises researchers and experts in the field.

The Social Sciences and Rationality

Promise, Limits, and Problems

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Author: Hudson Meadwell

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1351322869

Category: Social Science

Page: 228

View: 8219

In recent decades, rational choice theory has emerged as the single most powerful, controversial claimant to provide a unified, theoretical framework for all the social sciences. In its simplest form, the theory postulates that humans are purposive beings who pursue their goals in a rational, efficient manner, seeking the greatest benefit at the lowest cost. This volume brings together prominent scholars working in several social science disciplines and the philosophy of science to debate the promise and problems of rational choice theory. As rational choice theory has spread from its home base in economics to other disciplines, it has come under fierce criticism. To its critics, the extension of the explanatory model mistakenly assumes that the logic of economic rationality can explain non-economic behavior and, at its worst, commits the ethnocentric error of imposing Western concepts of rationality on non-Western societies and cultures. This volume includes strong advocates as well as forceful critics of the rational choice approach. However, in contrast to previous debates, all the contributors share a commitment to open, constructive and knowledgeable dialogue. Well-known advocates of rational choice theory (Michael Hechter, Michael Smith, Chris Manfredi) explicitly ponder some of its serious limitations, while equally well-known critics (Ian Shapiro, Mario Bunge) strike a surprisingly conciliatory tone in contemplating its legitimate uses. Vociferous critics of neoclassical economics (Bunge) favorably discuss sociological proponents of rational choice theory while two economists who are not particularly anti-mainstream (Robin Rowley, George Grantham) critically assess the problems of such assumptions in their discipline. Philosophers (Storrs McCall) and sociologists (John Hall) alike reflect on the variable meaning of rationality in explaining social behavior. In the introduction and conclusion, the editors survey the current state of the debate and show how open, constructive dialogue enables us to move beyond hackneyed accusations and dismissals that have characterized much previous debate.