Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Social Science Computer Review on:

Simulation Models of Ethnocentrism and Diversity

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.

Requested Papers

We are looking to publish up to eight high-quality papers on the above topic. If there are not sufficient high-quality papers then the special issue will be smaller. Accepted papers will present an agent-based simulation on issues connected with ethnocentrism and diversity, and compare these simulations to some available evidence. Accepted papers will have to show that the simulation added to our understanding of these phenomena in a new and substantive way – the aim is social science knowledge, agent-based simulation is just the tool. We will not accept position papers or reports of abstract simulations that do not compare to some evidence or data. Given these restrictions, simulations can address a variety of issues concerning ethnocentrism and diversity – we will not be overly restrictive in this sense.

In addition to such papers, we might accept one high quality critical review of the relevant literature. However, this must go further than merely review and needs to come to substantive and critical conclusions.

If there is any doubt about the suitability of a paper, contact one of the guest editors (below).


Submission for Review

Papers should be initially submitted to in the form of a pdf file by midnight GMT on the 30th November 2017. The file should be anonymous – that is, it should be hard for a reviewer to tell who the authors are. Authors will be informed of the decision and sent the reviews by mid February 2018.

Submission after Revision

Authors will be sent the reviews from the first stage, accompanied by guidance from the guest editors as to the essential changes required and a specification of the complete SSCR requirements for publication. When these are done, the papers should be submitted according to these guidelines as a complete Zip package according to SSCR requirements as instructed.

Final Acceptance by SSCR

When we have checked that the requested revisions have been done and that all the SSCR requirements have been met, we will ask authors to upload the papers to the SSCR submission system including the source word files (.doc or .docx files). Please note that the editors of SSCR reserve the right to reject any paper if they judge they are not of sufficient quality, regardless of the decisions of the guest editors or the opinions of the reviewers.

Associated Workshop

There was a workshop on the same topic in Manchester 7/8th June 2017. The slides and discussion from that workshop are available on the website at Authors may find it useful to look at these in preparation of their submission, and we hope that the discussion there was helpful to participants but this Special Issue is independent of that workshop. In particular, we will review all submissions equally, regardless of whether they attended.

Guest Editors


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.

Some Relevant Links