- Subject index
Understanding Contemporary Society: Theories of the Present is a comprehensive textbook to guide students through the complexities of social theory today. Over 30 chapters, written by an international team of contributors, demonstrate clearly the practical applications of social theory in making sense of the modern world. Students are both introduced to the most significant theories and guided through the major social developments which shape our lives. Key features of the book are: clearly structured and readable prose; bullet pointed summaries and annotated further reading for each topic; makes complex issues accessible to undergraduates; focuses on relevance and practicality; chapter lay-out which is ideal for t
Chapter 9: Rational Choice Theory
Rational Choice Theory
It has long appeared to many people that economics is the most successful of the social sciences. It has assumed that people are motivated by money and by the possibility of making a profit, and this has allowed it to construct formal, and often predictive, models of human behaviour. This apparent success has led many other social scientists to cast envious eyes in its direction. They have thought that if they could only follow the methods of economics they could achieve similar successes in their own studies. These sociologists and political scientists have tried to build theories around the idea that all action is fundamentally ‘rational’ in character and that people calculate the likely costs and benefits of any action ...