1
$\begingroup$

As a beginner researcher in an interdisciplinary field, studying complex systems and, especially, complex socio-technical systems are some of my research interests. From time to time, I hear and read (I haven't yet had a chance to perform a proper literature review) that some researchers apply ecological methods to studying the above-mentioned complex socio-technical systems. I would be interested in learning more about possibilities of such applications and, perhaps, would consider trying to apply those methods (after learning them, of course) to domains of my interest.

With that in mind, I am curious about the rationale (arguments or theoretical foundations) that supports methods, used for biological systems with embedded food chains to socio-technical systems that lack such features. I realize that, potentially, cases can be made that food chains and related processes are similar (in a statistical modeling sense) to socio-technical processes, which are completely different in nature, but very similar in "mechanics". For example, one might argue that knowledge sharing processes follow the same underlying nature laws (which?) that govern biological ecosystems' food chains (and/or some other processes within that subject domain).

P.S. Since couldn't find more appropriate tags, I have used ones that are IMHO quite relevant.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

This literature extends back well into the 20th c with the work of people like Ludwig von Bertalanffny, Gregory Bateson's Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Kenneth Boulding's Ecodynamics, Stewart Brand's Whole Earth Discipline as well as systems thinkers such as Jay Forrestal. In terms of more purely theoretic and biologic thinking, the work of Robert Ulanowicz as articulated in his recent book A Third Window may be the closest to what you're looking for in integrating perspectives from thermodynamics and ecosystems with the history of science.

But there are boatloads of other contributors to consider as well, e.g., H. Haken's Synergetics, Steven Strogatz book Sync, and so on. Let me know if you're interested in more of a reading list but this should definitely get you going.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Your answer is very much appreciated (+1). I think that your references are enough for now :-). I will let you know, when I would be needing a more comprehensive reading list. Could you mention some core terms on the intersection of biological ecosystems and socio-technical ones that I can read about in Wikipedia, Scholarpedia or similar resources? $\endgroup$ – Aleksandr Blekh Oct 16 '15 at 20:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Rather than handing off some buzz words, why not browse these books on Amazon using the Look Inside option? One additional complexity theorist that I neglected to mention is Didier Sornette. He heads up the Financial Crisis Observatory at ETHZ and is a prolific publisher of papers on the interface of complex systems, economics, finance and extreme value modeling theory. $\endgroup$ – DJohnson Oct 16 '15 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ Good idea, indeed. I use Look Inside feature all the time, just didn't think about using it for that purpose. Thank you for the update and advice. $\endgroup$ – Aleksandr Blekh Oct 16 '15 at 21:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Here are a couple more recent papers on complexity and ecosystems. Don't know if they are useful to you or not, so do with them what you will: uvm.edu/~cdanfort/csc-reading-group/… necsi.edu/events/iccs6/papers/4d6ef793373fc00504df7fa8b202.pdf pnas.org/content/112/13/E1569.full $\endgroup$ – DJohnson Oct 17 '15 at 16:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I keep coming across interesting and relevant references. Here's one by the excellent Matthew Jackson on "Networks in the Understanding of Economic Behaviors." He ranges widely in the article but the fundamental mechanisms of transmission (e.g., information cascades, WOM, disease) are rooted in public health and epidemiology, i.e., are biological. www2.econ.iastate.edu/tesfatsi/… $\endgroup$ – DJohnson Oct 18 '15 at 15:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.