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Social dynamics can refer to the behavior of groups that results from the interactions of individual group members as well to the study of the relationship between individual interactions and group level behaviors. The field of social dynamics brings together ideas from Economics, Sociology, Social Psychology, and other disciplines, and is a sub-field of complex adaptive systems or complexity science. The fundamental assumption of the field is that individuals are influenced by one another's behavior. The field is closely related to system dynamics. Like system dynamics, social dynamics is concerned with changes over time and emphasizes the role of feedbacks. However, in social dynamics individual choices and interactions are typically viewed as the source of aggregate level behavior, while system dynamics posits that the structure of feedbacks and accumulations are responsible for system level dynamics. Research in the field typically takes a behavioral approach, assuming that individuals are boundedly rational and act on local information. Mathematical and computational modeling are important tools for studying social dynamics. Because social dynamics focuses on individual level behavior, and recognizes the importance of heterogeneity across individuals, strict analytic results are often impossible. Instead, approximation techniques, such as mean field approximations from statistical physics, or computer simulations are used to understand the behaviors of the system. In contrast to more traditional approaches in economics, scholars of social dynamics are often interested in non-equilibrium, or dynamic, behavior. That is, behavior that changes over time.
- Complex adaptive system
- Complexity science
- Collective intelligence
- Dynamical systems
- Jay Wright Forrester
- Group dynamics
- Operations research
- Population dynamics
- System dynamics
- Social psychology
- Societal collapse
- Sociocultural evolution
- Durlauf, Steven; Young, Peyton (2001). Social Dynamics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-04186-3.
- Sterman, John (2000). Business Dynamics. McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-231135-5.
- "Brookings Institution, Center for Social Dynamics and Policy". Retrieved 29 Sep 2012.
Weidlich, W. (1997) "Sociodynamics applied to the evolution of urban and regional structures". Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society, Vol. 1, pp. 85–98. Available on line: http://www.hindawi.com/GetArticle.aspx?doi=10.1155/S1026022697000101
- Easley, David; Klienberg, Jon (2010). Networks, Crowds, and Markets. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-19533-1.
- Jackson, Matthew O. (2008). Social and Economic Networks. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13440-6.
- Introduction to Social Macrodynamics
- Club of Rome report, quote: "We must also keep in mind the presence of social delays--the delays necessary to allow society to absorb or to prepare for a change. Most delays, physical or social reduce the stability of the world system and increase the likelihood of the overshoot mode"
- Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems—Institute with research focusing on complexity and social dynamics.
- Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan—Center with research focusing on complexity and social dynamics.
- Social Dynamics course at the Kellogg School of Management.
- social-dynamics.org—Blog on Social Dynamics from Kellogg School of Management Social Dynamics Scholar
- "Historical Dynamics in a Time of Crisis: Late Byzantium, 1204–1453" (discussion of social dynamics from the point of view of historical studies)
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