Battering RAMs

Critical Review 9 (1-2):223-234 (1995)
Abstract
Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory is a largely valid critique of the rational choice approach to politics. Rational choice theory may be useful under some conditions, but a general characterization of these suggests that American political behavior is unpromising terrain. Some forms of behavior cannot without strain be treated as instrumental; some sources of behavior cannot be accomodated by any theory built wholly out of preferences and beliefs. Explaining cooperation, in particular, requires attention to normative, expressive, and intrinsic motivations and social identification, and to the conditions in which they are mobilized.
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