Scholars 2008-09

Visiting Professors

Simon A. Levin
Deborah A. Prentice

Members

Jessica R. Cattelino
Aurelian Craiutu
Lee Cronk
Zouhair Ghazzal
Michelle Girvan
Joanne Gowa
Charles J-H Macdonald

 

Darrel Moellendorf
Sten Nyberg
Barry O'Neill
Catherine J. Ross
Teemu Ruskola
Rajiv Sethi
Richard A. Shweder
Michael E. Staub
Diego A. von Vacano
Jonathan Weinstein
Niza Yanay
Muhamet Yildiz

 

Visitors

Robert B. Adhieh
James Doyle (Term 1)
Souad Eddouada (Term 1)
Charles M. Haar
Robert O. Keohane
Beth L. Leech
Helen Nissenbaum (Term 1)
Jonathan Rieder
Daniel I. Rubenstein
Pontus Strimling (Term 1)
Kazuko Suzuki

Research Assistant

Yuval Jobani

Visiting Professors

       

Simon A. Levin
Princeton University
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

 

I will explore the relationship between macroscopic patterns in ecological and economic systems and microscopic mechanisms that operate primarily at the level of individuals, on contemporary and evolutionary time scales. I will also consider, mathematically, the development of macroscopic descriptions for the collective behavior of large and heterogeneous ensembles that are subject to continual evolutionary modification.

 
         

Deborah A. Prentice
Princeton University
Psychology

 

I study the psychology of social norms - how norms arise from and, in turn, influence perceptions and behaviors in social contexts. My current research focuses on people's emotional reactions to violations of social norms. I am also interested in how norms can be used in interventions designed to change behavior.

 
         

Members

       

Jessica R. Cattelino
University of California, Los Angeles
Anthropology

 

 

Citizenship and Territorialization in the Florida Everglades

This anthropological book will analyze citizenship and nationalism int he Everglades as they are forged through practices of territorialization. The primary modes of territorialization for the indigenous and settler residents of the Everglades, I will argue, are movement and stoppage: of people at reservation borders and in migration; of agricultural commodities; and, most evidently, of water. I analyze these processes at two sites, the Seminole Big Cypress Reservation and the nearby agricultural town of Clewiston. I will examine contests over citizenship and nation that include indigenous water claims and anti-Cuban Cold War sugar industrializaiton, the creation of the Everglades National Park and migrant labor. I develop a cultural analysis of environmental attachments that contributes to the anthropology of citizenship and of environment, the theorizaiton of indigeneity, and debates about the future of this iconic American swamp. At a time when Everglades restoration is a popular but elusive propo-sition, this book will show how and why "saving the Everglades" is as much a political and social project as an ecological one.

 

 

       

Aurelian Craiutu
Indiana University
Political  Science

 

Faces of Moderation in Modern Political Thought: An Intellectual History

Faces of Moderation is a cross-disciplinary project that draws on a wide range of writings from history, political science (theory), and philosophy. The authors and writings under consideration belong to two different national cultures (France and England) and focus on the debates around political democracy and the legacy of the French Revolution. The planned chapters highlight the multifarious ways in which moderation was conceptualized over time and came to be articulated in political practice. The final part of the manuscript investigates the contemporary relevance of moderation in today's politics. The project addresses the following questions: What does it mean to be a moderate voice in political and public life? What are the virtues and limitations of moderation?

 

 

       

Lee Cronk
Rutgers University
Anthropology

 

Meeting at Grand Central: Culture and the Evolution of Cooperation

I will be working with my Rutgers colleague Beth L. Leech to complete a manuscript for a book entitled Meeting at Grand Central: Culture and the Evolution of Cooperation. Our goal will be to clarify important theoretical, conceptual, and methodological issues in the study of human cooperation by bringing together scholarly traditions from a wide range of fields that heretofore have remained largely separate. One of our main themes will be the importance of social norms in solving collective action problems and coordination games. The book will also emphasize the value of empirical work, particularly from our own fields of anthropology and political science, as a much needed complement to the theoretical models and computer simulations that are so prominent in the contemporary study of cooperation. The potential audience for Meeting at Grand Central includes scholars and students from across the social, behavioral, and biological sciences who are concerned with cooperation and related phenomena. By using empirical examples from work by ourselves and others, we also hope to make the book accessible and interesting to non-specialists and educated lay readers.

 

 

       

Zouhair Ghazzal
Loyola University
Law

 

Law in Action and the Making of Law in Contemporary Syrian Society

My research studies legal practices and the making of law in contemporary  Syrian society (from the 1980s to the present) within a comparative perspective. There are specific flaws, common to legal studies in the last couple decades, that I address. First, my research bypasses the notion of "Islamic law" by focusing on the normative practices of the law; and, second, it aims at connecting, through inter-disciplinary approaches, ranging from legal theory and history, to sociology and anthropology, various societies and legal practices situated within the west Asian continent. I study legal systems through a sociology of action that docwnents norms from the viewpoints of the actors themselves.

 

 

 

 

   

Michelle Girvan
University of Maryland
Physics

 

 

Complex Networks and Social Norms

Understanding the spread and stability of social norms requires the consideration of the connectivity of individuals within the population. In the projects I describe, I consider the influence of network structure on the spread of ideas as well as the co-evolution of network structure and social identity.

 
         

Joanne Gowa
Princeton University
Political Science

 

International Institutions and Outcomes: The GATT/WTO and Postwar Trade

Relatively little of the large literature on international institutions attends to their impact on outcomes. This is so because defining an appropriate metric of success and measuring the factors that are thought to contribute to it often prove elusive. In the case of the GATT/WTO, however, neither of these tasks is insuperable. Yet, only recently have attempts been made to measure its impact. Findings diverge widely: some studies argue that the GATT/WTO has not had any impact on trade; others that its effect has been limited to industrial countries;still others that its impact, particularly on developing­ country trade, has been sizable. I seek to untangle the sources of these differences in order to generate an accurate measure of the impact of what is perhaps the paradigmatic case of an international institution.

 

 

 

 

   

Charles J-H Macdonald
Centre National de la Recherche
Anthropology

 

Cooperation in Small-Scale Communities

Looking first at a wider picture of various
forms of human collective life, I propose to examine a set of principles that diverge from the basic rules defining social order in standard socioanthropological  theory. I define thus a divergent model of organization, which I call "non-structural,"  "non-social," or "gregarious." It is exemplified by a number of well-documented groups and communities throughout the world. I propose to examine various aspects of cooperation within this novel conceptual framework, particularly  its connection with bonding, hierarchy, critical group size, and personal networks. I will pay particular attention to the moral basis of cooperation.

 

 

       

Darrel Moellendorf
San Diego State University
Philosophy

 

Morality and Climate Change

There are at least four issues that I plan to pursue; three involve matters of justice. One concerns justice in the global burden sharing of mitigating anthropogenic climate change. Another involves the relative weight to give to duties to future generations to mitigate the costs of climate change and to duties to the present generations to alleviate extreme global poverty. The third concerns whether, or to what extent, the interests of future generations should be discounted in considering what we owe them. The fourth paper takes up the issue of the appropriate attitude that we should have to the natural environment in light of the vast scale of the human activity impace on the climate system and various ecosystems; most fundamentally, this concerns our moral place in the natural universe.

 
         

Sten Nyberg
Stockholm University
Economics

 

Social Norms, Preferences and Economic Incentives
 

The project entails four subprojects (A-D), out of which three deal with social norms or preferences and the fourth is an industrial organization application. A examines the rationale for social norms against high achievement, prevalent, e.g., in Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia and reflected in group norms.such as "acting white." B brings together present biased preferences,   confirmatory bias in a study of the flexible labor market. C examines cultural difference in assertiveness using an evolutionary approach. D examines the effects of targeted TV advertising on differentiation in TV pro-gramming and its welfare consequences.

 

 

       

Barry O'Neill
University of California, Los Angeles
Political Science

 

Nuclear Prestige and the Nuclear Taboo

Some states have sought nuclear weapons for prestige, but there is also a recognized taboo against their possession or use. A goal of immense importance is to decrease the prestige and bolster the taboo, but both spring from the same two facts: first, that the weapons have unmatched destructive power, and, second, that a clear line separates nuclear weapons from others. Prestige value and taboo depend on higher-order beliefs and attitudes of others, and so are susceptible to the use of game theory. They bring in other concepts related to beliefs about beliefs, such as precedent, identity and social norms. I will write a book on this issue, accessible to a non-technical audience, including formal theory in the appendix.

 

 

       

Catherine J. Ross
George Washington University Law School
Law

 

Pluralism, Parental Values and Children's Rights in Public Schools

A book on the conflict between mores and laws arising in a variety of controversies in U.S. public schools: from differences over curriculum (sex education to creationism); silent and spoken prayer; symbols of identity, culture and religion; and political and academic speech by students themselves. I seek to clarify the respective rights of the parties to these disputes which pit three imperatives against each other: the school's mission to craft a national community, respect for distinctive parental values, and the rights of students to express their own identities. My inquiry lies at the heart of the question whether increasingly diverse societies can coalesce around shared values that make room for a multitude of beliefs.

 

 

 

 

   

Teemu Ruskola
Emery University School of Law
Law

 

China, For Example: China and the Making of Modern International Law

Despite the urgency and the importance of the subject, there is no sustained historical and analytic treatment of China' s role and place in the making of modern international law. This project will examine the history of the introduction of Western international law in China, as well as the theoretical implications of that history for international law more generally. At the broadest level, this project will analyze the global extension of Western international law as an  epistemological and cultural project, the goal of which has been to transform the entire planet into a juridical formation consisting of nation-states.

 

 

       

Rajiv Sethi
Barnard College, Columbia University
Economics

 

Group Inequality

Consider a society in which a history of overt discrimination against one or more groups has resulted in significant disparities across groups
in levels of income and education. Will a strictly enforced policy of equal opportunity in contractual relations be enough to ensure eventual convergence of economic well-being across groups, or will inequality across groups persist indefinitely? And should the assignment of individuals to scarce educational or employment opportunities be contingent on group membership, as is the case with affirmative action policies? These are the two main questions that are addressed in this project.

 

 

       

Richard A. Shweder
University of Chicago
Anthropology

 

Customs Control: "Un-American Activities" and the Moral Challenge in Cultural Migration
 

The moral challenge of coming to terms with cultural migration is one of the most pressing public policy projects for liberal democracies in the early 21st century. In recent years I have been co-chairing an interdisciplinary Social Science Research Council Working Group on Law and Culture, which has been exploring the ethical and legal foundations of tolerance for diversity and examining norm conflicts between mainstream populations and cultural minority groups in a variety of national multicultural sites. During the proposed fellowship period I plan to complete a book tentatively titled Customs Control:  "Un-American Activities " and the Moral Challenge in Cultural Migration which addresses the question "how much of global cultural diversity is domestically viable within a liberal pluralistic democracy such as the United States?"

 

 

       

Michael E. Staub
Baruch College CUNY
American Studies

 

Madness Is Civilization: A New Cultural History of the 1960s

My project starts from the premise that attending to the astonishingly widespread academic and counter cultural preoccupation  in the 1960s with the topic of madness and the setting of the asylum fundamentally changes how we think about the history of that decade. Mental illness operated both as a subject in its own right and as an occasion for addressing a host of other political, emotional, and social concerns. Some toyed with the idea that insanity could be liberating. But for many, the topic of madness provided a means to think through what was wrong with "normalcy," to challenge the institution of the family and the war in Vietnam, to theorize socialization processes and the ways social structures shaped individual behavior in a democracy, and to express existential despair over the difficulties of both individual and social change. Taking seriously the obsession with madness in the 1960s makes possible a new -indeed also strikingly transnational -account of the 1960s New Left and counterculture, but also helps us to provide more complex histories of the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, and psychology in this era.

 

 

       

Diego A. von Vacano
Texas A&M University
Political Science

 

Immigrant Identity in a Cosmopolitan World

Liberal political theory has increasingly come to face the normative problems posed by immigration. Most works in this tradition, however, deal with the ethics of immigration policy, not identity formation of agents who cross borders. One exception is the recent work of Anthony Appiah on cosmopolitanism. While Appiah does not treat immigrants at length, I argue that his schema can be extended to them if they are seen as cosmopolitan actors. However, Appiah's reliance on J.S. Mill's notion of self-cultivation, I propose, is not useful for comprehending immigrant identity because of the severe constraints faced by new immigrants vis-a-vis native citizens. Instead of Mill, a more adequate foundation for examining immigrant identity can make use of a Nietzschean understanding of the relationship between identity and ressentiment. Immigrant identity in a cosmopolitan world can indeed hinder the adaptation and assimilation of newcomers to the host society and transform national identity.

 

 

       

Jonathan Weinstein
Northwestern University
Economics

 

Expert Testing and Robustness in Game Theory

I will be continuing two major projects, both
addressing a classic question of game theory and decision theory: How should a decision-maker cope rationally with an uncertain world? These projects involve a) robustness to incomplete information of predictions in game-theoretic and economic models, and b) testing the probabilistic predictions of experts. The first project is connected to social norms and cooperation. It can help determine when cooperation can be sustained in the face of mutual doubt regarding the consequences of different strategies.

 

 

       

Niza Yanay
Ben Gurion University
Sociology

 

The Workings of Collective Hatred

I intend to complete a book on the ways in which hatred operates and circulates as both an emotion and as a discourse. My aim is to combine the insights of sociology and
psychoanalysis, in order to lay out a theory of hatred that seeks to understand the kind of connections that hatred produces and serves. My main questions are how hatred operates as a social and psychic reality and what social and psychological purposes it comes to serve. In my book I will be relying on selective philo-sophical, psychological and sociological texts, all of which problematize the meaning of human sovereignty in different ways. The chapters will engage texts by Freud, Kristeva, Girard, Hooks, Derrida; Agamben, Hardt and Negri, Bhabha, Butler, Guattari, Battaille, and others. By engaging with these texts, I will lay out the workings of hatred as a sphere of contradictions within discourse in order to show how hatred mobilizes enmity on the one hand and on the other hand pushes desires for attachment and dependence to their limits. On the basis of these texts, I will show that national, religious, or ethnic identifications are not simply about human feelings of inclusion and exclusion, love and hate, but also about the powers of legitimation, of ambivalent knowing, and about remaining connected to the other in circumstances where it is simultaneously necessary and impossible. By analyzing hatred in a new way, asking new questions and creating new emphases, we might just be able to begin transforming hate relations into social solidarity and recognition.

 

 

       

Muhamet Yildiz
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Economics

 

The Role of Systematic Biases and Incomplete Information in Reaching Cooperation

During my visit I will be working on research questions on conflict resolution, the sources and the strategic implications of belief differences, and sensitivity of game theoretical predictions to private information. The main topics of my projects are: (1) The role of sentiments in coordination on cooperative behavior; (2) The role of durability of bargaining power and optimism in reaching an agreement and conflict resolution; (3) Strategic implications of systematic biases about other individuals' behaviors (e.g., when individuals differ about what the relevant social norms are in a self-serving way). I have a long research experience on conflict resolution, belief differences among individuals-especially in the context of conflict resolution, and the role of private information in strategic behavior.

 
         

Visitors

       

 

       

Robert B. Adhieh
Emory University School of Law
Law

 

The New Regulation

In recent years, legal scholars have focused increasing attention on various non­ traditional modes of regulation. Studies of private legal systems, the privatization of traditional government functions, standard-setting activities, and public subsidies might be cited, by way of example. For all this attention, however, little effort has been made to theorize these patterns more broadly. This project attempts to offer one such account. Departing from the legal literature's traditional reliance on the Prisoner's Dilemma to rationalize both the function and form of regulatory interventions, I instead look to coordination game dynamics, in which mismatched incentives - and the resulting prospect of defection - are not the operative concern, but rather the need to align player's expectations. This approach, I will argue, suggests potential "network-building'' functions for law and regulation in modem industrial economies. The latter, in turn, may point to distinct occasions for regulatory intervention, as well as distinct forms that such regulation might take. In this, it may help to explain much of the emerging regulatory activity that scholars have highlighted in recent years.

 

 

       

James Doyle (Term 1)
University of Bristol
Philosophy

 

Plato's Gorgias

Professor Doyle will be working on a book on Plato's Gorgias.  This will give an analysis of the main arguments of the dialogue, and an account of the use to which Plato puts the dialogue form, as leveling an implicit critique of Socrates' conception of philo-sophical method and his associated doctrine of "intellectualism."

 

 

 

       

Souad Eddouada (Term 1)
Ibn Tofail University
Anthropology and Law Studies

 

Moroccan Women and the State in the Wake of Reform        

This project will examine a Moroccan feminist social movement launched in the 1990s which culminated in the 2004 Moroccan Family Code reforms. My work contextualizes the 2004 reforms within the interaction between two trajectories of change: 1) processes of political openness initiated by the monarchy in the 1990s; and 2) the growing trend of state-sponsored institutionalization of religion brought about in the aftennath of the 2003 Casablanca terrorist attacks.  This project aims to delineate some of the discursive representa-tions and practical implementations of the 2004 reform. I will also analyze a series of post-2004 feminist positions on the issues of gender justice and reform.  In order to do so, I will carry out a comparative study of the 1957 and the 2004 Family Code texts; a discursive analysis of other state-sponsored development texts; an analysis of the secular, Islamist, and alternative feminist views on the reform; and survey of recent scholarship on post-2004 feminist activism.

 
         

Charles M. Haar
Harvard University
Law

 

The Inspiration and Implementation of Cooperation in The Great Society

 
         

Robert O. Keohane
Princeton University
Political Science

 

Multilateral Institutions and Cooperation: Theory and Institutional Design

I am a student of international cooperation and institutions.  In my most important work, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (Princeton, 1984), I developed a theory of why states create multilateral institutions, using theories of economic organization drawn from works by R.H. Coase.   I have since elaborated that theory and applied it to political-economic institutions, environmental institutions, and alliances. At the Institute I hope to extend this work in two ways. First, I am trying to understand how our current theoretical and empirical research on multilateral institutions could illuminate issues of institutional design: for example, how climate change institutions should be designed so that they generate incentive for effective coordinated action. In the fall of 2007 I gave the Castle Lectures at Yale, on the topic, "Power and Institutional Design," and Iam committed to write a book on that subject.

 
         

Beth L. Leech
Rutgers University
Political Science

 

Cooperation as Coordination: Collective Action in Society and in Science

Why people cooperate for the greater good in some circumstances, but free ride or fail to organize for action at all in most others, is a question that political scientists, economists, and sociologists have struggled for years to explain. Recently,  anthropologists, animal behaviorists, and other behavioral scientists have become interested as well. This new scholarship adds a focus on human motivation and psychological mechanisms that is lacking in much of the rational actor approach in economics and political science. Unfortunately, it too often has been done without sufficient regard to the earlier work. During my year at IAS I will complete a book manuscript, Meeting at Grand Central: Culture and the Evolution of Cooperation, to be coauthored with my Rutgers colleague Lee Cronk. The book is an attempt to provide a bridge between two sets of scholarship on collective action that don't often speak to each other, to provide a discussion of cooperation across the disciplines.

 

 

       

Helen Nissenbaum (Term 1)
New York University
Philosophy

 

 

 

 

Moral and Political Analysis of Digital Technologies and Information Systems

I am working on a framework for understanding and evaluating threats to privacy inherent in many technology-based information systems and practices. A second project explores how moral and political values may be embedded in the design of technical systems, with particular focus on video and computer games.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Jonathan Rieder
Barnard College
Sociology

 

 

Moral Argument in American Politics: The Social Organization of Righteous Passion

 

   

 

       

Daniel I. Rubenstein
Princeton University
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

 

Sustaining the Global Commons: Evolution of Cooperation and Social Norms

Many of the core problems facing humanity­ among them environmental degradation, overpopulation, and indeed armed conflicts
among peoples-have arisen because we live in a Global Commons. What individuals do affects the general welfare. Sometimes, individual selfish actions fortuitously prove beneficial to others; but in too many cases, they do not. Indeed, from the most simplistic evolutionary point of view, the default assumption is that natural selection will emphasize individual gains above those of society. Individual agents, whether these be people or institutions or nations, act in their own self-interest, often at cost to societies, the biosphere, and hence the global community and future generations. Yet, cooperation and collective behavior, even apparent altruism, are widespread in Nature. The mechanisms that generate this cooper-ation, however, generally apply only in small groups or tight social networks. I will explore how we can extend these insights into how cooperation emerges and maintains large and diffuse societies, where status, reputation and even systems of justice and morality shape social relationships. I hope to identify ways which require "mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon"-Garrett Hardin's oft-cited solution to avoiding the "Tragedy of the Commons"-can be realized.

 

 

       

Pontus Strimling (Term 1)
Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution
Economics

 

A Unified and Predictive Theory of Human Cooperation Through Empirical Understanding of Social Contracts

I study the evolution of social contracts. I use mathematical modeling and experimental economics to build predictive theories for how social contracts are upheld and how they change over time.

 
         

Kazuko Suzuki
Texas A&M University
Sociology

 

Topology of Race: "Race" Beyond the Western Paradigm

In my research, I proffer an Asian intervention on the notion of "race. "A long-standing debate has existed over the origins of the idea of race among Western scholars: is the idea universal or is it a Western construct that appears as ajustification  for colonialism? While the social-construction approach dominates current scholarship, it largely neglects the experience of non-Western regions. In my work I pursue the idea that race is neither a universal concept nor an idea purely born out of Western modernity. I argue that the Asian perspective shows that race can be understood "topo-logically," that is, as something that retains an inner core but which must be understood as having different phases over time that are interconnected historically.

 
         

Research Assistant

       

Yuval Jobani
Tel-Aviv University
Hebrew Culture

 

The Jewish Political Tradition

The project, chaired by Michael Walzer, sheds light on the little-known and unexplored Jewish tradition of political thinking and writing, and invites the reader to re-evaluate this tradition from the viewpoint of modem political-philosophical  discourse. The part of the project on which I am working is entitled "Politics in History" and it deals with Jewish intellectual reactions to historical events as well as other conceptions of political phenomena such as war and peace.