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Rational Ritual


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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

About 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).


"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 B?rgers, Economica "An innovative and broad-ranging book."--Alfred Stepan, Comparative Politics

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