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Rational Lives : Norms and Values in Politics and Society - Dennis Chong

Rational Lives

Norms and Values in Politics and Society

Paperback Published: 1st January 1999
ISBN: 9780226104393
Number Of Pages: 248

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Those who study value conflicts have resisted rational choice approaches in the social sciences, contending that political conflict over cultural values is best explained by group loyalties, symbolic motives, and other "nonrational" factors. However, Chong shows that a single model can explain how people make decisions across both social and economic realms. He argues that our preferences result from a combination of psychological dispositions, which are shaped by social influences and developed over the life span.
Chong's book yields insights about the circumstances under which preferences, beliefs, values, norms and group identifications are formed. It offers a provocative explanation of how ingrained social norms and values can change over time despite the forces maintaining the status quo.
"Going beyond the tired polemics on both sides, Chong] constructs a new interpretation of human behavior in which culture and individual rationality both matter. The synthesis is a more comprehensive and powerful explanatory framework than either side could have produced, and Chong's creativity should influence subsequent interpretations of our social life in fundamental ways."--Christopher H. Achen, University of Michigan

List of Figuresp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Interests versus Valuesp. 11
Rational Choicep. 12
Status Politicsp. 20
Symbolic Politicsp. 24
Does Rational Choice Theory Survive the Challenges Posed by the Symbolic Politics Research?p. 26
Taking Stock of Expressive and Instrumental Theoriesp. 42
A Model of Individual Choicep. 45
Dispositions and Incentivesp. 47
Reference Groups and Conformityp. 47
Group Dynamicsp. 51
A Model of Individual Choicep. 53
Incentives: The Meaning of [pi]p. 54
Reinforcing Only Lp. 56
Reinforcing Only Rp. 56
Dispositions: The Meaning of a and bp. 57
Exposure to Both L and Rp. 59
Deductions: The Interplay between Incentives and Dispositionsp. 62
Conclusionp. 74
Coordination and Conflictp. 76
Four Mechanisms of Defensep. 76
Coordination Problemsp. 79
Ethnocentrismp. 87
Vested Interestsp. 98
Majorities and Minoritiesp. 106
Conclusionp. 113
Cultural Mobilizationp. 116
Creating Common Frames of Referencep. 119
Deductionsp. 122
General Strategiesp. 126
The Element of Surprisep. 130
Convergence on a Focal Pointp. 134
Arguing with Principlesp. 141
Conclusionp. 150
Economics Meets Morality in a Texas Communityp. 153
Backgroundp. 154
Setting the Agendap. 158
Framing Strategies following the First Votep. 160
Competing Worldviewsp. 165
The Role of Social and Moral Beliefs in Solving Coordination Problemsp. 169
Morality, Trust, and Social Orderp. 171
Political Repercussions of Cultural Diversityp. 173
Evaluating Information and Reasoning about Means and Endsp. 176
Are the Citizens of Williamson County Acting in Their Self-Interest?p. 180
Conclusionp. 184
Mass Adjustment to New Normsp. 186
Incentives and Dispositions (Reprised)p. 188
Social Adjustment to New Norms and Practicesp. 190
A Model of Social Adjustmentp. 193
Mechanisms of Social Changep. 203
How the South Was Wonp. 206
Conclusionp. 210
Culture and Strategyp. 212
A Unifying Theoryp. 213
Value Formationp. 214
Social Changep. 218
The Limits of Rationalityp. 221
Expressive and Moral Actionp. 222
A Final Wordp. 228
Notesp. 233
Biblographyp. 265
Indexp. 283
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780226104393
ISBN-10: 0226104397
Series: American Politics & Political Economy (Paperback)
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 248
Published: 1st January 1999
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.0 x 15.2  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.4
Edition Number: 2