News

Early notice of a Special Issue of Social Science Computer Review...

…on “Simulation Models of Ethnocentrism and Diversity”. Papers should describe a relevant agent-based model, and relate this to some evidence or data. Strict deadline: ‘’‘November 30th 2017’‘’. A full CfP will be circulated in September.

Agent-based simulation is a technique for modelling social phenomena as a collection of interacting individual computational entities, called ‘agents’. These allow for the projection and examination of interactions between actors that would be too complicated to follow otherwise. It does not require the strong assumptions of some other techniques (as for economic or equation-based models). See the 2014 special issue of SSCR and with its survey paper, Squazzoni, Jager, & Edmonds (2014). They represent a shift from only considering variable or factors that might impinge upon a situation, to that which allows the consideration of socially embedded individuals (Macy & Willer 2002).

Several agent-based simulation models have had a particular influence upon the thinking around ethnicity and migration, as many of the underlying ideas behind phenomena of interest in these literatures, such as segregation, easily lend themselves to that type of modelling. The Schelling ‘checkerboard’ model of the emergence of ethnic segregation (Schelling 1971), which showed that only a small preference for in-group neighbours can easily lead to segregation within a space, is often cited as the first agent-based social simulation. Since then there have been several highly influential papers in this area. These include Axelrod’s (1977) model of the polarization of culture, which showed how a diverse set of groupings could emerge, each being internally coherent, but clearly distinguishable from the ones they adjoin and also Hammond and Axelrod’s (2006) simulation concerning the possibly biological emergence of ethnocentrism where the agents could interact cooperatively or otherwise with their neighbours. These three papers have been highly cited and have inspired many others to build similar models. However, many of these models have tended to be at the abstract end of the ‘simulation spectrum’ used in a suggestive, analogical manner – influencing ideas about these issues rather than demonstrating their veracity. Thus, it is possible they have had more influence than their evidential base justifies.

Thus, we feel that it is time for a review of the current research on this subject, collected together into a special issue. This will facilitate the critical assessment of this strand of work; showcase the cutting edge developments or cases where this approach has been fruitfully applied; and see where the field is heading.

Draft Timeline

• August 2017, early notification of call for papers for the special issue;
• September 2017, Official Call for papers issued.
• End November 2017, submission deadline for all papers;
• Mid December 2017, Guest Editors do desk check for relevance and basic suitability, rejecting those that are obviously unsuitable. To inform authors of this decision.
• Send out remaining papers to peer review, collect reviews – selecting the 8 best that are suitable for publication.
• Mid February 2018 , Inform authors of the result, ask them to revise papers according to comments and format papers correctly.
• Mid April 2018, check revised papers.
• Mid May 2018 ask selected authors to upload papers to SSCR’s system.

Special Issue Editors

References

Axelrod, R (1997) The dissemination of culture – A model with local convergence and global polarization. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 4(2):203-226.

Edmonds, B. & Meyer, R. (2013) Simulating Social Complexity – a handbook. Springer.

Hammond, RA & Axelrod, R (2006). The evolution of ethnocentrism. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 50(6):926-936.

Macy, Michael W & Willer, Robert (2002). From Factors to Actors: Computational Sociology and Agent-Based Modeling. Annual Review of Sociology. 28:143–166.

Schelling, TC (1971). Dynamic models of segregation. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 1:143-186.

Squazzoni, F., Jager, W., Edmonds, B. (2014). Social Simulation in the Social Sciences: A Brief Overview. Social Science Computer Review, 32(3):279-294.