Course Process

Social Complexity

In this video we give a quick overview of the application of complexity theory to the social sciences; what we call social complexity. We start off with a very broad discussion surrounding the scientific enterprise as we talk about paradigms in general and the Newtonian paradigm in particular. We will go on to talk about how the basic assumptions underpinning our traditional formal approaches begin to fail when we start to deal with more complex systems consisting of a very many autonomous, diverse, components, that are highly interconnected and interdependent, as often is the case within the social sciences. We briefly introduce complexity theory as an alternative approach to modeling these complex systems, an approach that is based on a paradigm inherited from systems theory. Finally, we touch upon how complexity science is based upon a new set of computational methods and how big data is set to have a transformative effect on the social sciences in the coming decades.