‘Complexity theory’ has had an impact across the social sciences. In particular, the analysis of systems, and the effects of non-linearity have impacted on social theory. Yet the ways in which complexity has been interpreted have been diverse. Is it’s prime contribution as a metaphor which can be used as a way of explaining social phenomena, or are complexity phenomena related to physical concrete patterns in human relations? Is it that events in the social world are ‘as if’ complexity phenomena are at work, or is it ‘physics all’ (or most) ‘of the way down’? The answers to such questions are significant in terms of ontology, methodology and epistemology in the social sciences. In this paper we assess a diversity of ways in which complexity has been appropriated in the social sciences, before arguing that social systems do manifest complex phenomena. We will argue that complexity is apparent in the social world in different types or kinds of systems. In addition, and as critics have pointed out, a particular feature of social systems as opposed to non-human systems is that human actors have cognisance of their situation, complexity approaches need to allow for this in their analyses.
|Keywords:||Complexity Theory, Social Systems, Epistemology, Ontology, Differentiated Complexity|
Senior Lecturer in Politics and Sociology, School of Social Sciences, Media and Cultural Studies, University of East London, London, UK
Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Media and Cultural Studies, University of East London, London, UK
There are currently no reviews of this product.Write a Review