Davide Sparti

Reputation Is Not Chosen: Introduction to «Reputation and Character»

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Informations and abstract

Keywords: Jon Elster, Rational choice theory, Reputation, Erving Goffman, iden- tity good.

This introduction to «Reputation and character» begins highlighting the anomalous position occupied by Elster within rational choice theory. While problematizing the notion of social actor as conceived by economy-centered paradigms (and suggesting to re-think utility maximization - what we want - in terms of identity - who we are or who we want to be), Elster seems unable to free himself from some of the theory's shortcomings. By focusing on reputation building, Elster connects reputation to strategic action. Yet, although reputation corresponds to something we subjectively aim at, it remains a fundamentally ascribed feature, as Goffman repeatedly showed. Rather than a strategic resource, reputation turns out to be an identiy-good (a product of social recognition), whose origin and validation are inevitably inter-subjective.

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