Second ISA Forum of Sociology, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1-4 August 2012

Research Committee on
Rational Choice, RC45

  on-line programme

Propuesta de sesiones en español

Programme Coordinator

Hanno SCHOLTZ, University of Berne, Switzerland,

RC45 Liaison in Argentina
Carolina Najmías , Becaria CONICET,


All Forum participants (presenters, chairs, discussants, etc.) need to pay the early registration fee by April 10, 2012, in order to be included in the programme. If not registered, their names will not appear in the Programme or Abstracts Book.


provisional as of March 15, 2012, in alphabetical order


Actors, choices, and rationality in the Global South

Choice-oriented theory has had hard times in Latin America and in the Global South in general. The Cold War era witnessed a relative decline of Latin America and Asia which was by no means a choice, of neither these societies nor their citizens. In turn, in many Latin American (less so Asian) societies, rational choice sociology has been identified with the active and successful actors of these historical changes, who by many scholars were analyzed as one collectve actor, be it "the" U.S. hegemony or "the" Global North. In many Asian (less so Latin American) societies, research which used the individual actor as its analytical base was perceived as oriented against value orientations and collective identities and propagating an individualism which would eventually destroy connections and the social capital they bear.

However, the last decades have witnessed a complete reversal of the depicted macro trends, with economic and social abilities and the resulting self-confidence rising in those parts of the former semi-periphery which turned into emerging markets and new regional powers. In turn, sociology acknowledges a renewed interest in choice-oriented and agency-centered analysis in the Global South and regarding its specific topics of economic, social, and political development. These analyses have set up a mosaic of pieces on systems of production processes, processes of investment in physical, human and social capital, on economic and on political institutions.

The session is intended to allow for another step forward in this field to its integration and the connection to wider rational choice theory. We are especially interested in papers which directly address understanding the large North-South differences of the foregone era and their probable fading on a choice-oriented analytical base. But other papers from the emerging mosaic of actor-centered research in the Global South are likewise welcome.


Embedded rational choice in institutional change

Political institutions have undergone dramatic changes over the last two decades, and the role political actors play in these processes has been a major focus since the contributions of Przeworski and O’Donnell/Schmitter. However, the social embeddedness of these political actors and the resulting connection between social determinants on the macro level, citizens as indvidual agents on the micro level and political actors as agents on the meso level is subject of ongoing research.

This session intends to combine papers which analyze and discuss applications of rational choice sociology with to the analysis of political institutions. It is hoped that papers will present and discuss results of empirical applications– be it quantitative, experimental, qualitative, or other– of their theoretical research approaches, but we welcome papers focusing on the development and discussion of new theoretical arguments and models, as well.


RC45 Business Meeting


Social capital: Current research on bases and outcomes


Social capital: Current research on the construction of social capital


The evolution of networks and social co-operation




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International Sociological Association
November 2012