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Title: Political entrepreneurs and intentional action : rationality and the problem of collective action
Authors: Carreras, Ashley L.
Award date: 2000
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: Anthony Downs first introduced a comprehensive account of political decision-making founded upon rational choice in 1957. Though there have been many refinements of the initial framework, rational choice approaches have been dogged by the same problems that Downs first highlighted: 1) Why do people vote? 2) How do politicians convince voters that they are worth electing? This thesis seeks to address these problems by concentrating upon the role of the 'Political Entrepreneur' and their relationship with voters. It is shown that because rational choice theory is wedded to the instrumental conception of rationality it is unable to account for the fact that people do participate in the electoral process, and in numbers of larger than predicted by rational choice models. Even when a radical subjectivist account of decision making is considered, it is clear that the instrumental approach to reasoning fails to integrate peoples' present actions with their previous decisions. An alternative approach to rationality is considered which seeks to understand people's behaviour in terms of their social context. It is argued that if we are to provide an explanation of behaviour based upon a rational account of action, then we must include some notion of the normative nature of what constitutes behaviour into our theorising. The emphasis is upon the nature of plans that enabled people to ensure that their behaviour is coherent, both with their own behaviour over time, and with the behaviour of others.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, Dept. of Economics
Leicester Theses

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