Simulation Game Playing Politics | Growing Into Life

Play­ing Poli­tics SS 2021

Ter­min Details

Play­ing Poli­tics. Play­ing Games for the Prac­ti­cal Expe­ri­ence of Ratio­nal Choice Theo­re­ti­cal Con­cepts accord­ing to Micha­el Laver

Euro­pe-Uni­ver­si­ty Via­dri­na in Frankfurt/Oder, Germany
Semi­nar for BA and MA
Gra­des 3 | 6 ECTS
BA: Pra­xis­mo­dul / Sozi­al­wis­sen­schaft­li­che Vertiefung
MA (MASS, Euro­pean Stu­dies): Pra­xis­mo­dul / Modul Poli­tik & Kultur/ Optionsmodul

Dates & Rooms

Hybrid For­mat Block Cour­se Som­mer Semes­ter 2021

WED 5th May 2021 from 6 – 9pm | Intro Ses­si­on Online via Big­Blue­But­ton (man­da­to­ry)
FRI 2nd July — SUN 4th July 2021 from 10am-5pm | Block Cour­se Pre­sence for­mat, room HG 162 (man­da­to­ry)


The pur­po­se of the simu­la­ti­on game "Play­ing poli­tics" is to show prac­ti­cal impli­ca­ti­ons of ratio­nal choice and game theo­ry. Poli­tics are cal­cu­la­ted and cal­cu­la­ting inter­ac­tions bet­ween self-inte­res­ted poli­ti­cal actors – indi­vi­du­als, poli­ti­ci­ans, poli­ti­cal par­ties, pres­su­re groups, natio­nal governments, and alli­an­ces of coun­tries. The simu­la­ti­on game pres­ents poli­ti­cal action as simp­le games, dis­clo­sing imper­fec­tions and dilem­ma­ta, and explo­ring com­ple­xi­ty of the "real" world in a play­ful atmosphere.

The theo­re­ti­cal-ana­ly­ti­cal part of the semi­nar focu­ses on ratio­nal choice theo­ry, game theo­ry and nego­tia­ti­on theo­ry. Par­ti­ci­pants will ela­bo­ra­te on the­se models, select and deve­lop an ana­ly­ti­cal focus and instru­ment in a first step. The second step is both, play­ing games and obser­ving from a meta­le­vel per­spec­ti­ve – the group will be divi­ded into sub-groups then. The third step is reflec­tion on games and wri­ting a paper.

Par­ti­ci­pants will deve­lop their skills in rea­ding and wri­ting sci­en­ti­fic texts, in asking good (not only sci­en­ti­fic) ques­ti­ons, and joy­ful­ly impro­ve their per­so­nal bar­gai­ning skills. They will inves­ti­ga­te poli­ti­cal sci­en­ces theo­ries, and will expe­ri­ence how to do empi­ri­cal rese­arch in a small sca­le – from plan­ning to obser­va­ti­on to interpretation.

Selec­tion of Rele­vant References

Axel­rod, Robert (2006): The Evo­lu­ti­on of Coope­ra­ti­on. Revi­sed ed., Basic Books: New York.

Davis, Mor­ton D. (1997): Game Theo­ry: A Non­tech­ni­cal Intro­duc­tion (Dover Books on Mathe­ma­tics). Basic Books: New York.

Els­ter, Jon (2007): Exp­lai­ning Social Beha­vi­or. More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sci­en­ces. Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty Press: Cam­bridge, New York.

Fisher, Roger / Ury, Wil­liam (2012): Get­ting to Yes: Nego­tia­ting an agree­ment with­out giving in. New edi­ti­on, Ran­dom House Busi­ness Publ.: London.

Laver, Micha­el (1997): Play­ing Poli­tics. The Night­ma­re Con­ti­nues. Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press: Oxford, New York.

Laver, Micha­el (1997): Pri­va­te Desi­res, Poli­ti­cal Action: Invi­ta­ti­on to the Poli­tics of Ratio­nal Choice. Rev. ed., Sage Publi­ca­ti­ons Ltd: London.

Pre­con­di­ti­ons for Par­ti­ci­pa­ting in the Simu­la­ti­on Game

Curiou­si­ty for a dif­fe­rent semi­nar for­mat and play­ing games. Com­mit­ment for acti­ve par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on, self respon­si­bi­li­ty and self organi­sation. Good com­mand in English.

Stu­dents have to wri­te a short moti­va­tio­nal let­ter why they would like to par­ti­ci­pa­te on the simu­la­ti­on game, and to indi­ca­te whe­ther they are BA-stu­dents or MA-stu­dents. The­re­fo­re, pri­or app­li­ca­ti­on is man­da­to­ry via email: or with the regis­tra­ti­on con­ta­ct form below.

Infor­ma­ti­on on the Seminar

Stu­dents from both, Bach­a­lor and Mas­ter degree are wel­co­me. Dif­fe­ring requi­re­ments are taken into account by the lecturer.

All ques­ti­ons on semi­nar details and gra­de requi­re­ments will be dis­cus­sed at the first ses­si­on (intro­duc­to­ry ses­si­on). And, the­re will be given a short intro by the lec­tu­rer on the deve­lo­p­ment of rese­arch designs for doing empi­ri­cal rese­arch and on wri­ting sci­en­ti­fic texts (excerp­ts, assignments).


Gra­ding: 3 | 6 ECTS

Details on the pre­re­qui­si­tes for a gra­de are dis­cus­sed at the first ses­si­on (online intro session).

Regis­tra­ti­on Con­ta­ct Form

    * Requi­red Fields

    Your name *

    Your mobi­le pho­ne num­ber (Start with your Coun­try Code, e.g. +49 for Ger­ma­ny. Thanks!) 

    Your email-address *

    Your mes­sa­ge (moti­va­ti­on for par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on, stu­dy and level, matri­cu­la­ti­on no.) *

    A copy of your mes­sa­ge will be sent to your email-address.