Discussion papers

CPM-2018-212 - 5 November 2018

Workshop Report: "Beyond Schelling and Axelrod: Computational models of Ethnocentrism and Diversity"

Devid Hales

This is a report by David Hales on the workshop, held at the Manchester Metropolitan University, June 7th – June 8th 2017. More about the workshop is at http://www.davidhales.com/ethnosim2017

Theme of workshop

Ethnocentrism, a positive orientation towards those with the same ethnicity and a negative
one towards others, is widely observed in human societies. Several (computational agentbased)
social simulation models show how interactions between individuals emerge
aspects of ethnocentrism such as in-group bias based on ethnic markers (Hammond &
Axelrod 2006); local cultural homogeneity combined with global polarisation (Axelrod
1997); and racial segregation (Schelling 1971). These models have influenced on-going
research that inherits similar frameworks and assumptions.

The workshop spotlighted on-going work influenced by, or in response to, these modelling
directions in addition to critical position statements and critiques of the assumptions that
such models embody, as well as relevant empirical studies.


  • Axelrod, R. (1997) The dissemination of culture – A model with local convergence
    and global polarization. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 4(2):203-226.
  • Hammond, R.A. & Axelrod, R. (2006). The evolution of ethnocentrism. Journal of
    Conflict Resolution, 50(6):926-936.
  • Schelling, T.C. (1971). Dynamic models of segregation. Journal of Mathematical
    Sociology, 1:143-186.

Format of workshop

The workshop comprised 12 presentations and two one hour panel discussions over two
half days (Wednesday June 7th, 12:00pm-5:30pm and Thursday June 8th, 8:30am-1pm,
2017). There was ample time for questions and discussions. Participation in discussions
was lively, focused and of high quality, benefitting from the coherency of the workshop
topic and the enthusiasm and knowledge of participants.

Post workshop Activity

Themes that emerged from the panels and wider discussions can be found in this report in
the Panels and Future Challenges sections. In addition participants were invited to submit
original work to a special issue of the Social Science Computer Review Journal on the
same theme as the workshop. This is due to appear 2019.

Workshop Organisation

  • Bruce Edmonds, Centre for Policy Modelling, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Laurence Lessard-Phillips, Institute for Research into Superdiversity, University of
    Birmingham (L.Lessard-Phillips@bham.ac.uk).
  • David Hales, Centre for Policy Modelling, Manchester Metropolitan University

The workshop web pages can be found at: http://www.davidhales.com/ethnosim2017