Summary of Rational Ritual

Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge

Princeton UP, more...

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Rational Ritual book summary
How do you know that I know what you know? What does common knowledge mean?


8 Overall

8 Importance

9 Innovation

6 Style


Michael Suk-Young Chwe, a professor of political science at UCLA and the author of Jane Austen, Game Theorist, tackles important, even crucial, questions regarding the modern knowledge-based economy and how societies work. Stated in abstract terms, some questions can sound pretty philosophical, such as “How can you know what I know?” But, Chwe grounds these abstractions in concrete examples, like antiwar protests, advertising and the Super Bowl. For an academic book, his brief exploration is quite clearly written. However, it is still an academic text, and can be slow going at times. Still, getAbstract recommends Chwe’s intelligent explorations to anyone interested in theories of knowledge, culture, community creation or meaning.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What factors constitute common knowledge
  • How people create common knowledge
  • Why common knowledge matters


Coordination and Common Knowledge
When you want to do something with other people, you may face “coordination problems.” You want to participate only if you know others are participating as well. Communicating with others addresses your immediate decision, but just sending or receiving...
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About the Author

Michael Suk-Young Chwe is professor of political science at UCLA and the author of Jane Austen, Game Theorist.

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