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Rational Ritual – Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge - Princeton Scholarship Online
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Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge

Michael Suk-Young Chwe


Why do Internet, financial service, and beer commercials dominate Super Bowl advertising? How do political ceremonies establish authority? Why does repetition characterize anthems and ritual speech? Why were circular forms favored for public festivals during the French Revolution? This book answers these questions using a single concept: common knowledge. Game theory shows that in order to coordinate its actions, a group of people must form “common knowledge.” Each person wants to participate only if others also participate. Members must have knowledge of each other, knowledge of that knowledg ... More

Keywords: common knowledge, anthems, ritual speech, game theory, public ceremony, advertising, rationality, culture

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780691158280
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691158280.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael Suk-Young Chwe, author
University of California, Los Angeles

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