Islands of Order: A Guide to Complexity Modeling for the Social Sciences (Princeton Studies in Complexity #31) (Paperback)

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Other Books in Series

This is book number 31 in the Princeton Studies in Complexity series.

Description


Two pioneering anthropologists reveal how complexity science can help us better understand how societies change over time

Over the past two decades, anthropologist J. Stephen Lansing and geneticist Murray Cox have explored dozens of villages on the islands of the Malay Archipelago, combining ethnographic research with research into genetic and linguistic markers to shed light on how these societies change over time. Islands of Order draws on their pioneering fieldwork to show how the science of complexity can be used to better understand unstable dynamics in culture, language, cooperation, and the emergence of hierarchies.

Complexity science has opened exciting new vistas in physics and biology, but poses challenges for social scientists. What triggers fundamental, discontinuous social change? And what brings stable patterns--islands of order--into existence? Lansing and Cox begin with an incisive and accessible introduction to models of change, from simple random drift to coupled interactions, phase transitions, co-phylogenies, and adaptive landscapes. Then they take readers on a series of journeys to the islands of the Indo-Pacific to demonstrate how social scientists can harness these powerful tools to discover out-of-equilibrium social dynamics. Lansing and Cox address empirical questions surrounding the colonization of the Pacific, the relationship of language to culture, the emergence and disappearance of male and female hierarchies, and more.

Unlocking new possibilities for the social sciences, Islands of Order is accompanied by an interactive companion website that enables readers to explore the models described in the book.

About the Author


J. Stephen Lansing is Director of the Complexity Institute and Professor in the Asian School of the Environment at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. His books include Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali (Princeton). Murray P. Cox is Professor of Computational Biology at Massey University in New Zealand.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780691192949
ISBN-10: 0691192944
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: October 8th, 2019
Pages: 248
Language: English
Series: Princeton Studies in Complexity