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Inaugural Lecture Mr. prof. A. Flache: De complexiteit van sociale samenhang

When:Tu 20-05-2014 at 16:15
Where:Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Inaugural Lecture: Mr. prof. A. Flache

Title: De complexiteit van sociale samenhang

Chair: Sociologie, i.h.b. de modellering van normen en netwerken

Faculty: Behavioural and Social Sciences

Social integration in a diverse society is a central theme of sociology. This lecture focuses on three aspects of social integration, the structure of social networks, in particular segregation of subgroups, consensus on fundamental social norms and cooperation in the provision of collective goods.

It is argued that norms, networks and cooperation are complex phenomena. That is, in all three domains, the behavior of individuals can lead to unintended, unexpected and potentially undesirable consequences for social integration. It will be discussed how formal models – in particular agent-based computational models – are of use as a method to investigate these potential threats and possible solutions.

Three research lines of Flache serve as illustration. Theoretical work, recent empirical applications and plans for future research will be discussed. The first research line addresses ethnic segregation, more in particular research on ethnic segregation in friendships networks in schools and research on ethnic segregation between schools, popularly known as “black schools” and “white schools” in the Netherlands. Models and empirical results suggest that both forms of segregation may to some extent be unintended consequences of individuals’ search for relations with similar others. The second research line addresses the emergence of diversity and polarization in opinions. Formal models and applications to learning communities in higher education, as well as to voting for anti-immigration political parties, will be discussed. The third research line deals with cooperation. Research will be discussed which shows that social control is not always a solution and that aims to identify the conditions under which social control does promote cooperation.

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