Category Archives: Complexity

Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy

Soaring income inequality and unemployment, expanding populations of the displaced and imprisoned, accelerating destruction of land and water bodies: today’s socioeconomic and environmental dislocations cannot be fully understood in the usual terms of poverty and injustice, according to Saskia Sassen. … Continue reading

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Navigating Social-Ecological Systems: Building Resilience for Complexity and Change

In the effort towards sustainability, it has become increasingly important to develop new conceptual frames to understand the dynamics of social and ecological systems. Drawing on complex systems theory, this book investigates how human societies deal with change in linked … Continue reading

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The Complexity of Transitions

Complexity approaches to socio-economic systems have mostly involved financial markets. Here we claim that technological change is another promising field for complexity theories, and that technological transitions in particular have a large potential of new insights that complexity thinking can … Continue reading

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Ecological Systems as Complex Systems: Challenges for an Emerging Science

Complex systems science has contributed to our understanding of ecology in important areas such as food webs, patch dynamics and population fluctuations. This has been achieved through the use of simple measures that can capture the difference between order and … Continue reading

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Evolutionary Transitions: how do Levels of Complexity Emerge?

It is a common observation that complex systems have a nested or hierarchical structure: they consist of subsystems, which themselves consist of subsystems, and so on, until the simplest components we know,  elementary particles. It is also generally accepted that … Continue reading

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Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems

Creating institutions to meet the challenge of sustainability is arguably the most important task confronting society; it is also dauntingly complex. Ecological, economic, and social elements all play a role, but despite ongoing efforts, researchers have yet to succeed in … Continue reading

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Resilience and the Behavior of Large-Scale Systems

Scientists and researchers concerned with the behavior of large ecosystems have focused in recent years on the concept of “resilience.”  Traditional perspectives held that ecological systems exist close to a steady state and resilience is the ability of the system … Continue reading

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Understanding Phase Transitions for Social Change

The great challenges of the 21st Century are systemic in nature.  From ecological decline to cybersecurity in a digital age, the patterns of change we must grapple with are profoundly complex.  Change agents will need to understand how change unfolds … Continue reading

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Complexity and Sustainability

Complex dynamic system studies have been studied explicitly in the natural sciences, and most only implicitly throughout other fields. Yet much great social theory and philosophy is in fact based in complexity, and important concepts like postmodernism, risk, and collapse … Continue reading

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Complexity and Ecosystem Management: The Theory and Practice of Multi-Agent Systems

The quality of ecosystems is affected by the actions of different stakeholders who use them in a variety of ways. In order to understand this complex relationship between humans and nature, it is vital to understand the complexity of the … Continue reading

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