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Social complexity is the approach to social phenomena that tries to analyze a social system as a complex system. The social complexity can be seen as an impact on the social analysis of the widespreading complexity theory. It can be simply understood as the arrangement of contemporary social studies in the paradigm of a complex adaptive system, evolutionary computation, a self-organizing system in almost all aspects of social sciences, sociology, psychology, political science, anthropology, economics, etc.
Some important properties of social complexity are:
- The understanding of differences among description levels in a social system; at the minimum the distinguishment of macro-level (e.g.: collective or aggregate phenomena), meso-level (e.g.: social interaction among social agents), and micro-level (e.g.: the believe system of social agents). In this case, there is a tendency to see a social system as a multi-agent system.
- There are macro-micro linkages among those description level. The macro levels are emerged by the micro levels and in return there is a causality between the macro properties to the micro. This aspect reminds us of the concept of emergence in a complex adaptive system. In return, the interplays between macro and micro levels are commonly understood as non-linear phenomena.
- There is a tendency of using formal approach to social complexity studies, e.g.: game theory, cellular automaton, evolutionary programming, neural network modeling in many aspects, dynamical system modeling, computer simulation, etc.
It is believed that social complexity is the cumulative form of contemporary research of complex systems. Some famous subjects often related to social complexity studies include computational sociology, cognitive science, econophysics.
- The Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation - the principal journal covering this area and freely accessible
- Frequently asked questions about social complexity
- The Official Web of Bandung Fe Institute
- VisualComplexity.com - A visual exploration on mapping complex networks
- Modelling Complex Socio-Technical Systems using Morphological Analysis From the Swedish Morphological Society
- The Centre for Policy Modelling - a research group specialising in simulating social complexity, with large open-access list of papers
- The European Social Simulation Association
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