Cooperation

How important is cooperation in a market society? First, what is cooperation? Suppose a number of individuals occupy a common social and geographical space. They have a variety of individual interests and things they value, and they have outcomes they'd like to bring about. Some of those outcomes are purely private goods, and some can …

Hobbes an institutionalist?

Here is a surprising idea: of all the modern political philosophers, Thomas Hobbes comes closest to sharing the logic and worldview of modern social science. In Leviathan (1651) he sets out the problem of understanding the social world in terms that resemble a modern institutionalist and rational-choice approach to social explanation. It is a constructive …

Cooperatives within markets

In a recent post on ChangingSociety I considered the question whether households in a rural community might be able to achieve energy self-sufficiency based on the cultivation of crops such as cattails and community production of ethanol. One question raised there is whether it is possible to estimate the land and labor that would be …

New forms of collective behavior?

Personal electronic communication and the Internet -- have these new technologies changed the game for collective action? Here I am thinking of email and instant messaging, but also cell phones and other personal communications devices, as well as the powerful capacity for dissemination of ideas over the web -- has this dense new network of …

Chaos and coordination in social life

Much social behavior is chaotic, in that it simply emerges from the independent choices of numerous agents during a period of time. It is analogous to Brownian motion -- particles in a liquid moving in random motions as a result of innumerable bumps and pushes at the molecular level.However, there are also many patterns that …

Is network analysis inconsistent with agent-centered explanation?

Quite a few researchers who study dynamic social processes are making use of some of the tools of network analysis. And it is sometimes maintained that this approach is inconsistent with an agent-centered approach to social processes. Some of these researchers take the view that "it's not what is in the heads of various actors, …

What kind of social knowledge does a football coach have?

I am struck by the difference between the football game that I watch, as a not-very-involved fan, and the one that the experienced coach or sportswriter sees. For me the game is a series of fast-moving passes, tackles, runs, interceptions, touchdowns, and athletic movements. But it doesn't make a lot of sense as a whole …

%d bloggers like this: