Social behavior and the covid pandemic

Anyone who thinks that the social world is orderly and predictable needs to reflect carefully on the way the covid pandemic has played out in the United States and many other countries. For political scientists who are partial to rational-choice explanations of individual behavior -- you'll need to think again. No theory of rationality or …

Alain Touraine on social movements

Alain Touraine, now in his tenth decade, published Défense de la modernité in 2018 as a statement of his current thinking about the meaning of modernity, and it is a striking contribution. Touraine participated in a seminar on the book at the University of Milan last week, with discussions by Profs. Marino Regini (Milan), Elena Pulcini (Florence), …

Consensus and mutual understanding

Groups make decisions through processes of discussion aimed at framing a given problem, outlining the group's objectives, and arriving at a plan for how to achieve the objectives in an intelligent way. This is true at multiple levels, from neighborhood block associations to corporate executive teams to the President's cabinet meetings. However, collective decision-making through …

Modifying an epidemiological model for party recruitment

  Here I'll follow up on the idea of using an epidemiological model to capture the effects of political mobilization through organization. One of the sample models provided by the NetLogo library is EpiDEM Basic (link). This model simulates an infectious disease moving through a population through person-to-person contact. We can adapt this model to …

Modeling organizational recruitment

One defect of the ABMs considered in the prior post about the emergence of civil conflict is that they do not incorporate the workings of organizations into the dynamics of mobilization. And yet scholars like Tilly (Dynamics of Contention) and Bianco (Peasants without the Party: Grassroots Movements in Twentieth Century China) make it clear that …

ABM approaches to social conflict

Source: Pfautz and Salwen (link) An earlier post addressed the question of the dynamics through which a stable community consisting of multiple groups may begin to polarize and fission into antagonisms and conflict. I speculated there that the tools of agent-based modeling might be of use here. What I had in mind was something like …

Social conflict and group mobilization

source: Du Shiyu and Qi Jiayan, "Multi-agent Modeling and Simulation on Group Polarization Behavior in Web 2.0" An earlier post drew attention to the fact that there are sometimes powerful forces leading to the disintegration of previously peaceful populations of people into violent opposition across groups (link). A population concentrated in a geographical space (city, …

Social conflict and group mobilization

source: Du Shiyu and Qi Jiayan, "Multi-agent Modeling and Simulation on Group Polarization Behavior in Web 2.0" An earlier post drew attention to the fact that there are sometimes powerful forces leading to the disintegration of previously peaceful populations of people into violent opposition across groups (link). A population concentrated in a geographical space (city, …

Fissioning community

What is a community, and what forces exist to either preserve the strands of community or to erode those strands? To start, a community is a population within a defined geographical space. It is a group of people who have their own interests, identities, and affinities. It is a group of people who act in …

A sense of injustice in China?

  Quite a few years ago Barrington Moore explored in his book Injustice the idea that a sense of justice sometimes plays an important role in history. Here is how he put his central question: This is a book about why people so often put up with being the victims of their societies and why …

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