Complexity Theory and the Social Sciences: The state of the art

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‘Complexity’ for the past two decades has informed a range of work across the social sciences. There are diverse schools of complexity thinking and authors studying areas as diverse as health inequalities and the organization of large scale firms have used the ideas in a different ways. Some understand complexity as emergence from the rule based interactions of simple agents and explore it through agent based modelling. Others argue against such ‘restricted complexity’ and for the development of case based narratives deploying a much wider set of approaches and techniques. Major social theorists have been reinterpreted through a complexity lens and the whole methodological programme of the social sciences has been recast in complexity terms. This book seeks to establish ‘the state of the art’ of complexity informed social science as it stands now and point ways forward towards a post-disciplinary complexity informed social science for the 21st century

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415693684
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/21/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 771,953
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

David Byrne

David Byrne is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Durham. His recent publications include Applying Social Science (Policy Press, 2011) and Social Exclusion (Routledge, 2008).

Gillian Callaghan is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Durham. Her research interests focus around the use of complex realism as a basis to develop the coherence of the relationship between theory, methods and empirical research. Her work has been published in journals such as Sociological Research Online and Critical Social Policy.

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Table of Contents

Part 1: Complexity Theory and the Social Sciences - the State of the Argument 1. The Complex Social: Understanding Society through the Lense of Complexity Theory 2. Restricted Complexity and General Complexity: An Outline of the Arguments 3. Complexity Theory and the Philosophy of Social Science Part 2: Complexity Theory and Social Theory - Innovation or Recognition 4. Towards a Theory of Social Systems 5. System and Structure 6. Systems and Agency 7. Contexts of Time and Place Part 3: Researching the Complex Social 8. Complexity and Methodology: Exploring Trajectories through Narratives 9. Hunting Causes in a Complex World 10. Doing Research in a Complex World Part 4: Opening the Social Sciences - the Implications of the Complexity Turn for the Academy 11. Disciplines, Fields and the Complexity Turn 12. Beyond Disciplines: The 21st Century Academy in its Social Context Conclusion

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