Simulating Collective Agency. Emergence and Stability of Autonomy in Horizontal Collective Actors (SColA)

DFG-funded Project starts 2021, 36 months
Principal Investigator:Prof. Dr. Johannes Marx in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Olivier Roy, Universität Bayreuth

The project analyzes mechanisms underlying the emergence and stability of autonomy in horizontal collective actors. In this context, it pursues two goals, namely (i) to investigate the role of shared beliefs and intentions for the emergence of horizonotal collective actors and (ii) to study how these shared attitudes contribute to the emergence and stability of autonomy in such actors. It does so through the study of the repeated and evolutionary dynamics of so-called ‘team reasoning’ (Bacharach, 2006). Team reasoning is an extension of classical non-cooperative game theory in which the players can reason either individually or as a team member, i.e. as members of a collective actor. In the latter case, they adopt the preexisting team objectives and try to identify what they should do as team members while being uncertain of the team affiliation of the others. By means of computer simulations, we will be able to identify conditions – for example in terms of payoff variation, framing, and mutual belief - that foster the emergence and stability of team reasoning and thus of autonomous horizontal structured collective actors. As such, the project will, in its development and simulation phases, provide a theoretical foundation for the concept of autonomy in such actors.

SColA-projekt is embedded in a lively research community centered around a cluster of six DFG-funded research projects on collective agency, at the University of Bamberg. In that context, the theoretical analysis in SColA will brought to bear on findings in the other projects, by calibrating the models’ parameters to the data obtained in those projects.

Job offer

Two, three-years PhD positions* (65%, 13 TV-L) in Theoretical Political Science and in Philosophy, at the University of Bamberg and the University of Bayreuth.

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