Honors | Analyzing Trust and Social Cooperation
H204 | 0009 | Jackson E


Topics courses open to Honors Division freshmen and sophomores only. H204
topics carry COAS Social and Historical credit.

THIS IS AN AUTHORIZED COURSE.
OBTAIN ON-LINE AUTHORIZATION FROM THE HONORS DIVISION.

This course meets for the first eight weeks only.

In families, work organizations, churches and communities, people can
achieve great gains by pooling resources and working together. Yet people
often fail to sustain cooperative ventures, thereby forfeiting the benefits
they could have attained by trusting each other. This course will seek
answers to two questions: WHY do people fail to cooperate? HOW can people
build ties of trust and cooperation?

We will begin by reviewing social situations in which "perverse" incentives
drive people to withhold cooperation, especially "prisoners' dilemmas" and
social dilemmas, including "free-rider" situations. Then we will analyze
conditions under which people can find ways to escape from these "social
traps," trust each other, and work for their common welfare. This part of
the course will include an examination of "social capital" and how it
supports democratic governance and economic prosperity.

The course will emphasize empirical research (especially sample surveys,
social-psychological experiments, and field studies.) Classes will involve
lecture, discussion, small-group work, and in-class writing assignments.
Students will be asked to reflect on the reading in (very short) weekly
papers. Two midterm exams will include short-answer and essay questions. The
final exam will be comprehensive, asking students to link up ideas from all
parts of the course.

Elton F. Jackson
Department of Sociology
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405

Internet: JACKSONE@INDIANA.EDU
Telephone: (812) 855-2847
FAX: (812) 855-0781