Positive und Explanatory Political Theory (Modul: MR-1 Politische Theorie des Regierens)


Positive and explanatory political theory are those strands of political theory that are usually associated with the “Rational choice” paradigm. Accordingly, the seminar will provide an introduction to theories associated with this paradigm. Such theories are positive because they seek to identify empirically testable implications of their arguments. They are positive because they aim at explaining variance in politically relevant phenomena rather than delivering normative statements about the desirability of that which is observed. Positive and explanatory political theory takes the individual as its starting point and seeks to explain political action as the result of incentives and constraints actors face. Collective political action is explained as the resulting and sometimes emerging property of interaction among individuals given an institutional framework. Accordingly, the seminar will cover individual decision making, interactions between individuals and collective decision making. We shall address research questions that pertain to, inter alia, voting, bargaining, coordination, and collaboration.



Die Anmeldung zu dem Seminar erfolgt online über OLAT, die zentrale Lernplattform der CAU Kiel (https://www.uni-kiel.de/lms/dmz/). Die Anmeldung beginnt am 15.9.13 und endet am 13.10.13. Weitere Informationen zum Anmeldungsprozess finden sich auf der Homepage des Instituts für Sozialwissenschaften/Bereich Politik (www.politik.uni-kiel.de). The seminar will be held in English. Students are expected to actively participate in classroom discussions. Requirements for credit: • Presence (Please note that you cannot miss more than two classes without a doctor’s note.) • Avid participation in classroom discussions (15 percent) • Oral presentation of 20 minutes (25 percent) • Term paper of approx. 15 pages (60 percent) The term paper is due on March 31, 2014.


Reading: Mueller, Dennis C., 2003, Public Choice III, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.