Growing qawms: A case-based declarative model of Afghan power structures

CPM Report No.: 07-180
By: Armando Geller and Scott Moss
Date: July 2007


By means of evidence-based and declarative social simulation we grow qawms. Qawms denote solidarity networks in Afghanistan. They are dynamic social modules that contribute to the establishment of social structure. The study of qawms lends insight into the structural and processual dynamics of Afghan society. In particular we concentrate on the evolution of power structures. A computational model is presented whose ontology is based on a notion of power structures traceable in contemporary conflicts. The model’s agent behaviour, however, is informed by qualitative data derived from case studies on Afghanistan and, in terms of cognition, by the conception of endorsements. Our preliminary findings suggest – in accordance with existing case-studies – that actors are deemed if they are isolated, but perform strong if they are socially embedded and act according to the principles of neopatrimonial behaviour.

Keywords: Afghanistan, anomie, critical realism, declarative modelling, evidence-based social simulation, neo-patrimonialism, power structures.

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