Games, simulations, and comparative studies are used to investigate the distribution and use of influence and the characteristics of influentials in a variety of political systems.  Significant works from diverse authors—such as Harold Lasswell, Vaclav Havel, and A. Bartlett Giamatti—are selected to address issues of independence, choice, leisure, parallel organizations, legality, autotelic activities, pre-political pluralism, cheating, lying, living within the truth.  Distinctive styles in domestic government and foreign policy are illuminated for countries compared.


What do you want the students to know?

Intradisciplinary (American Government, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory) and cross-disciplinary (Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology) contributions to study of focal concept, theme, specialty, or practice on which the Workshop or Seminar concentrates—i.e., “the great game of politics.”

What do you want the students to do?

Continue and cultivate use of The Economist, New York Times, and other “of record” periodicals.  Peruse Complexity for relevant articles.  Available as journal or Online http://journals.wiley.com.cplx or www.interscience.wiley.com

Test the hypothesis that politics is “war carried on by other means”—i.e., games, essentially distribution games (who gets what, when, how).

·         compare national sports and national political styles in domestic affairs and in international relations

·         compare effectiveness of types of games-playing displayed by a set of states or leaders


• Lion-and-Fox     • primitive politics • agenda
• civil disobedience    • entrepreneurs   • cloak-and-dagger
• strike       • elections and others
• wipe-out • coalitions  
• entity • rolling logs  


·         categorize and compare effectiveness of games, theater, clubhouse, and war as styles of domestic politics and international relations


What habits of mind are the students to form?

Immediate, proximate, and ultimate chains of causation.  Retreating, losing, trading, drawing, and winning in competitions and conflicts.  Ends and means.  Choosing to choose.

How will you know?

Cumulative correction and continuity of prospectus à rough draft à oral presentation and script for it à finished piece(s).

Sources for empirically testing the hypothesis will be different and distinct from those used to formulate the hypothesis.


Suggested Texts

Lasswell, Harold, Politics:  Who Gets What, When, How (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1936. reprinted with permission by Peter Smith, 1950).

Laver, Michael, Playing Politics (New York: Penguin, 1979, 1999).

Giamatti, A. Bartlett, Take Time for Paradise:  Americans and Their Games (New York: Simon & Schuster Summit Book, 1989).
Havel, Vaclav, Disturbing the Peace (New York: Random House, 1990 softcover ed.).

_____, Letters to Olga, 137, July 17, 1982 (tram fare, conscience) (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1988).  Put on Library electronic reserve.

American Political Science Association, Symposium:  A Force More Powerful, in P.S.:  Political Science and Politics, Vol. XXXIII, No. 2 (June 2000).  Put on Library electronic reserve.

Ackerman, Peter, and Jack Duvall, “Nonviolent Power in the Twentieth Century,” pp. 147-149.

Calhoun-Brown, Allison, “Upon This Rock:  The Black Church, Nonviolence, and the Civil Rights Movement,” pp. 169-175.

Costain, Anne N., “Women’s Movement and Nonviolence,” pp. 169-174.

Gurr, Ted Robert, “Nonviolence in Ethnopolitics:  Strategies for the Attainment of Group Rights and Autonomy,” pp. 155-161.

McAdam, Doug, and Sidney Tarrow, “Nonviolence as Contentious Interaction,” pp. 149-155.

Seidman,Gay W., “Blurred Lines:  Nonviolence in South Africa,” 161-169.

Zunes, Stephen, “Nonviolent Action and Human Rights,” pp. 181-188.

Worth using in assembled class are the six 30-minute documentaries on videotape by PBS (2000) A Force More Powerful—Chile (“No” plebescite), Denmark (anti-Nazi occupation), India (independence), Nashville (end segregation), Poland (Solidarity), South Africa (end apartheid).  Impact among students who have scant memory of 1989 and 1990, much less earlier events, in amplified by viewing these as a class and discussing them.  PBS documentaries of 54-minute length (2002) are Those Who Refused to Fight (conscientious objectors in World War II) and Bringing Down a Dictator (nonviolence against Milosevic October 2000 until elections).  United States Institute of Peace http://www.usip.org issued a special report August 6, 2001, "Whither the Bulldozer" on the nonviolent removal of Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, and the February 2002 issue of PeaceWatch on "Nonviolent Struggles against Repressive Regimes."


Further Recommendations

Boormen, Scott A., The Protracted Game:  A Wei-ch’i Interpretation of Maoist Revolutionary Strategy (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1969).
Brown, Seyom, The Causes and Prevention of War (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987).

Clausewitz, Karl von, War, Politics, and Power, trans. Edward M. Collins (Chicago: Henry Regnery Gateway, 1962).

Eigen, Manfred, and Ruthild Winkler, Laws of the Game:  How the Principles of Nature Govern Chance (New York: Harper Colophon, 1983).

Farrar, Lancelot L., Jr., ed., War:  A Historical, Political, and Social Study (Santa Barbara, CA: American Bibliographic Center—Clio Press, 1978).

Fornari, Franco, The Psychoanalysis of War, trans. from the Italian by Alenka Pfeifer (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor, 1974).

Gleick, James, Chaos:  Making a New Science (New York: Penguin, 1987).

Goffman, Erving, Behavior in Public Places:  Notes on the Organization of Gatherings (New York: Free Press of Glencoe/Macmillan, 1963).

_____, Encounters:  Two Studies in the Sociology of Interaction (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1961).

_____, Interaction Ritual (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor, 1967).

_____, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (Garden City, NY Doubleday Anchor, 1959).

Hesse, Hermann, Magister Ludi, trans. Mervyn Savill (New York: Frederick Ungar, © 1949 Henry Holt).

Hofstadter, Douglas R., Gödel, Escher, Bach:  An Eternal Golden Braid (New York: Vintage, 1980).

Huizinga, Johan, Homo Ludens:  A Study of the Play Element in Culture (1944; Boston: Beacon, 1955).
Lipsky, Richard, How We Play the Game:  Why Sports Dominate American Life (Boston: Beacon, 1981).

Miller, James Grier, Living Systems (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978).  Large book, small print, many analogies and correspondences.

Reilly, Thomas A., and Michael W. Sigall, Political Bargaining (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1976).

Schmookler, Andrew Bard, The Parable of the Tribes:  The Problem of Power in Social Evolution (Boston: Houghtton Mifflin, 1984, 1986 paper).

Sibley, Mulford Q., ed., The Quiet Battle:  Writings on the Theory and Practice of Non-violent Resistance (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor, 1963).

Stoessinger, John G., Why Nations Go to War (3rd ed.; New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1982).

Sun Tzu, The Art of War, trans. Samuel B. Griffith (New York: Oxford, 1963).

Tiger, Lionel, and Robin Fox, The Imperial Animal (New York: Delta, 1971).

White, Ralph K., Nobody Wanted War (rev. ed.; Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor, 1970).