The Governance of Complexity
Edited by Kurt Dopfer
Chapter 6: Sociodynamics – An Integrated Approach to Modelling in the Social Sciences
Wolfgang Weidlich INTRODUCTION Sociodynamics has the ambitious aim of providing a general strategy, which means a frame of theoretical concepts for designing mathematical models for the quantitative description of a rather broad class of collective dynamical phenomena within human society. In the meantime these design principles have been applied to models of migration of interacting populations, group dynamics, political opinion formation, non-equilibrium economics and urban evolution. A full acount of the sociodynamic method and its applications can be found in a recent book of the author (Weidlich 2002). The present chapter sketches the main ideas and, as an example, their application to problems of migration and urban evolution. Since sociodynamics provides an open frame for model design, it can be expected that previous models will not be the end but rather the beginning of further progress. 1. 1.1 PRINCIPLES Sociodynamics aims at describing the dynamics of processes in human society – i.e. not only stationary states – on the macro level by an overarching mathematical concept of model design. 120 Sociodynamics 121 1.2 The micro level of individuals and the macro level of collective evolution are mutually interdependent. The formalism takes this fact into account. 1.3 Concepts of social science, notably the motivations, decisions and actions of individuals under the inﬂuence of collective trends are integrated from the start. Therefore, sociodynamics is not at all a ‘physicalism’. 1.4 Transition rates between states in the space of conﬁgurations of the social system (e.g. of its demographic, economic, social or political sector)...
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