Political Science | Political Theory and Policy Analysis
Y204 | 3291 | Firmin-Sellers

	Why do some consumers recycle their trash, while others do not? How
can the United Nations convince member countries to respect treaties
preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons?  Why are some Kenyan
students willing to risk their lives protesting in the streets, while others
remain at home?  Each of these questions is related to the problem of
collective action, because each asks when individuals (or nations) will
cooperate with one another to produce a socially desired outcome (such as a
cleaner environment, a safer world, or a more responsive government).
	Y204 introduces students to the problem of collective action. During
the first part of the course, students will learn to recognize the
collection action problems that arise in a variety of real world settings,
and they will learn one set of theories explaining why some of these
problems are solved while others are not.  To help you understand collection
action theory, early in the semester you will each begin volunteering for a
Bloomington or Indiana University organization that faces a collective
action problem every day.
	During the second part of the course, students will have an
opportunity to design their own research project on collective action.
Students will identify a collective action problem in the organization in
which they have been working.  They will develop a set of hypotheses
explaining how this problem has or has not been solved.  They will propose a
method of investigating their hypotheses.  And they will conduct their own,
primary research outside of the classroom, testing those hypotheses. This
independent research project will help students to develop important
problem-solving skills that they will need in other courses, and in future
employment settings.