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Self-organization and social science

Anzola, D, Barbrook-Johnson, P and Cano, JI (2016) Self-organization and social science Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory.

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Complexity science and its methodological applications have increased in popularity in social science during the last two decades. One key concept within complexity science is that of self-organization. Self-organization is used to refer to the emergence of stable patterns through autonomous and self-reinforcing dynamics at the micro-level. In spite of its potential relevance for the study of social dynamics, the articulation and use of the concept of self-organization has been kept within the boundaries of complexity science and links to and from mainstream social science are scarce. These links can be difficult to establish, even for researchers working in social complexity with a background in social science, because of the theoretical and conceptual diversity and fragmentation in traditional social science. This article is meant to serve as a first step in the process of overcoming this lack of cross-fertilization between complexity and mainstream social science. A systematic review of the concept of self-organization and a critical discussion of similar notions in mainstream social science is presented, in an effort to help practitioners within subareas of complexity science to identify literature from traditional social science that could potentially inform their research.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Social Science
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Date : 16 June 2016
Identification Number : 10.1007/s10588-016-9224-2
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright The Author(s) 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Depositing User : Joanne Ratcliffe
Date Deposited : 17 Jun 2016 09:42
Last Modified : 26 Jul 2016 10:02

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