ISA World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan, July 2014

Research Committee on
Rational Choice, RC45

RC45 main page

Program Coordinator

Number of allocated sessions including Business Meeting: 10.

 

Planned sessions and dates/time subject to further changes

in alphabetical order:

 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 08:30 AM - 10:20 AM

Attitudes and Rationality

Session Organizer
Antonio M. JAIME CASTILLO, Universidad de Málaga, Spain, amjaime@uma.es

Session in English

For long, the study of attitudes and values has been seen in a tension with a Rational Choice perspective: Critics of Rational Choice Theory argued that starting from interests and goals would pay no attention to values and attitudes, and indeed some economists and early Rational Choice theorists openly denied that values and attitudes are more than an incomplete mirroring of preferences which are better revealed through factual deeds. However, in recent sociological practice, Rational Choice theory and the study of values and attitudes are used in a much more reflected and hence much more productive way. Many Rational Choice models have been tested using survey data that measure attitudes and values producing a better understanding of the relationship between attitudes and preferences. The session is intended to give room for studies which combine these two aspects. The main goal is to integrate different approaches of empirical practice, but papers of theoretical or meta-analytic review are likewise welcome.

 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Experimental Studies in Rational Choice Theory

Session Organizer
Hanno SCHOLTZ, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, hanno.scholtz@unifr.ch

Session in English

 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 03:30 PM - 05:20 PM

Institutional Change in Times of Crisis: Rational Choices in Historical Sociology

Session Organizer
Hanno SCHOLTZ, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, hanno.scholtz@unifr.ch

Session in English

In recent years, an actor-oriented understanding of historical processes has become a central toolkit of historical sociology. The identification of actors and their situations and resulting choices has been used to clarify both institutional paths in specific societies and the dynamics of institutional differentiation between societies as well as general aspects in the development of societies, and both in the understanding of historical processes and of current developments. In the recent phase of social development in which notions of „crisis“ are abound, these perspectives have the potential to be useful toolkits to understand current situations of social development with its chances, its retardations, and its perspectives. The session invites papers that use actor-oriented models to study macro-social processes of historical change, both in the present and in the past, with their micro-level underlying foundations.

 

Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:30 PM - 5:20 PM

Rational Action and Trust

Session Organizer
Antonio M. CHIESI, University of Milano, Italy, antonio.chiesi@unimi.it

Session in English

The centrality of trust and reputation as well as trustworthiness in social relations has played an important role in traditional societies but has still a central function, which is even increasing in complex societies and global life. Trust and trustworthiness have long challenged rational action theory, because they imply emotional involvement and cannot be analysed only in terms of risk taking, i.e. estimating the chance of being betrayed. The recent interest in these issues has developed different levels of analysis (i.e. the distinction between interpersonal and generalized trust), different implications for adjacent fields (i.e. the study of social capital), and different technical tools (i.e. theoretical studies on conceptual clarification, ethnographical observation, game-theory applications, experiments, traditional survey approaches). The aim of the session is to gather different approaches to this issue and discuss the state of the art in the field. Both theoretical and empirical papers are welcome, as well as qualitative and quantitative approaches.

 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 08:30 AM - 10:20 AM

Rational Choice and Network Dynamics

Session Organizer
Masayuki KANAI, Senshu University, Japan, mkanai@senshu-u.jp

Session in English

The understanding of network dynamics has improved through a variety of methodological developments such as the stochastic actor-based model among others. As all models, these make specific assumptions on individual actions. How are these assumptions related to the traditional concept of rationality? This currently understudied question is the main focus of this session which welcomes both theoretical and empirical papers including simulation studies. Especially invited are papers that challenge this issue from the perspective of the links between micro and macro level.

 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Rational Choice under Empirical Test

Session Organizer
Jun KOBAYASHI, Seikei University, Japan, jun.kobayashi@fh.seikei.ac.jp

Session in English

This session focuses on intimate relationships, such as the family, the couple, love, and emotional attachment. Anthony Giddens argued that modern industrial societies have transformed traditional fixed intimacies into personal and thereby flexible ones. This should be the case especially in the era of globalization. One of the pioneering examples of Rational Choice sociology was the increase in divorce, resulting in changing roles of women and men. More recently we have observed increasing acceptance of homosexuality, nonmarital birth, and patchwork families. These relationships are in many respects similar to traditional families, but in other aspects different from them. The structure within intimate relationships depends on the distribution of resources as human capital, social capital, or cultural capital. All together, the sociology of intimate relationships is full of choice-oriented questions which shall be combined in this session. Theoretical and empirical papers are likewise welcome. Topics may include (but not limited to): cohabitation, international marriage, divorce, sexual division of labor, household work, declining birth rates, aging, care, sexuality, social stratification, and welfare states.

 

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 05:30 PM - 07:20 PM

RC45 Business Meeting

Session Organizer


 

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 03:30 PM - 05:20 PM

RC45 Poster Session: Current Research in Rational Choice Theory

Session Organizer
Hanno SCHOLTZ, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, hanno.scholtz@unifr.ch

Session in English

 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 03:30 PM - 05:20 PM

Simulation Studies in Rational Choice Theory

Session Organizer
Kazuto MISUMI, Kyushu University, Japan, kmisumi@scs.kyushu-u.ac.jp

Session in English

In modern society most of social institutions are rationally designed (in a bureaucratic way); at the same time, they are inherently embedded in social structures to some degrees. As Putnam suggests, performance of social institutions might be efficiently enhanced by social structures (trust and norm of general reciprocity) surrounding the institutions. In a sense, embeddedness is a necessary factor to be considered when rationally designing social institutions. On the other hand, as Burt suggests, an embedded institution often produces unfair results because social networks within and surrounding it should have structural holes. If fairness or equality is a significant element, the influences by embeddedness must be carefully controlled when designing and managing social institutions. Specifically in those East Asian countries that commonly share relationalism, this paradoxical issue is significant because the default level of embeddedness should be deeper than other countries. In this session, by focusing on relationalism (or East Asian countries) in wider comparative perspectives, we explore a unique model of embedded institutions in that social structures are congruent with rationality. Theoretical approach, case study, and survey research are welcome; however, it is expected that discussions will refer to concrete institutional problems.

 

Monday, July 14, 2014: 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Social Capital and Rational Choice Theory

Session Organizers
Yoshimichi SATO, Tohoku University, Japan, ysato@sal.tohoku.ac.jp
Rafael WITTEK, Groningen University, Netherlands, r.p.m.wittek@rug.nl

Session in English

Social capital has been popular in social sciences, but it has also been criticized for its conceptual ambiguity. Rational choice theory can contribute to solving this problem by exploring how something social such as social networks is converted into social “capital.” The session invites papers that study this conversion process as well as rational choice of social capital. Other topics about social capital and rational choice such as the study of the interaction of social capital at different levels (individual, meso, and macro levels), the analysis of the relationship between negative social capital and actors, and the study of social capital and reputation management are also intriguing. Both of empirical and theoretical papers are welcome.

 

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March 2014