Social Complexity III: Theories

  • Claudio Cioffi-Revilla
Part of the Texts in Computer Science book series (TCS)


Since laws describe and theories explain, this chapter introduces the reader to generative theories of social complexity in CSS. The emphasis is on formal and empirically-referenced theories, in some cases amenable to validation with real-world data, consistent with a computational approach. The chapter has three thrusts. The first is to provide the reader with proper foundations in elements of process analysis, Boolean logic, and elementary probability for compound events, as these ideas are applied to the statement and development of social complexity theories. This is done by highlighting useful parallels across formalisms and making use of mathematical isomorphisms. The second thrust of this chapter is to use these ideas as building blocks to examine theories of origins of social complexity. This is done by taking a closer look at how and why chiefdoms—and, later, states and empires—formed in the first cradles of civilization. Detailed analysis of these primary systems and processes is essential for understanding social complexity. The third thrust of the chapter is on general theories of social complexity, which encompass universal explanations of original, current, and future social complexity. The theoretical concepts, principles, and methods covered in this chapter constitute one of the most dynamic frontiers of CSS.


Supply Chain Collective Action Fast Process Canonical Theory Social Complexity 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudio Cioffi-Revilla
    • 1
  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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