Advancing Social Simulation: Lessons from Demography

Silverman, E. , Bijak, J., Courgeau, D. and Franck, R. (2014) Advancing Social Simulation: Lessons from Demography. ALIFE 14: Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems, Manhattan, NY, USA, 30 Jul -- 02 Aug 2014. pp. 384-391. ISBN 9780262326216 (doi: 10.7551/978-0-262-32621-6-ch061)

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Previous work has proposed that computational modelling of social systems is composed of two primary streams of research: systems sociology, which is focused on the generation of social theory; and social simulation, which focuses on the study of real-world social systems. Here we argue that the social simulation stream stands to benefit from recent methodological and theoretical advances in demography. Demography has long been an empirically focused discipline focused primarily on mathematical modelling; however, agent-based simulation have proven influential of late as demographers seek to link individual-level behaviours to macro-level patterns. Here we characterise this shift as a move toward system-based modelling, a paradigm in which the scientific object of interest is neither the individual nor the population, but rather the interactions between them. We first describe the four successive paradigms of demography: the period, cohort, event-history and multilevel perspectives. Then we examine how system-based modelling can assist demographers with several major challenges: overcoming complexity in social research; reducing uncertainty; and enhancing theoretical foundations. We propose that this new paradigm can enhance the broader study of populations via social simulation.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Silverman, Dr Eric
Authors: Silverman, E., Bijak, J., Courgeau, D., and Franck, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU

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