Does agent-based modeling flourish in sociology? Mind the gap between social theory and agent-based models

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    I propose a new theoretical framework to fill the gap between social theory and agent-based models. Agent-based models have been popular in sociology because both of them assume that interactions of actors are the key to understanding and explaining social phenomena. However, there is a gap between social theory and agent-based models. Social theory emphasizes the importance of reflexivity and meaning in sociological study because actors reflect their goals and try to discover a new goal as in the case of Protestants in Max Weber's work. They discovered the concept of vocation (Beruf in German) and added new meanings to their occupations. Then success in their occupational life became their goal. By contrast, agent-based models have not seriously considered them. This has led agent-based models to a niche in sociology. Thus for agent-based modeling to flourish in sociology, agent-based modelers need to incorporate reflexivity and meaning in their models. To do that, two mechanisms should be analyzed: a mechanism of the move between backward-looking rationality, forward-looking rationality, and reflexivity and a mechanism in which agents discover a new goal. I apply a meta rational theory (Sato 2016) to the first mechanism and show how actors move among the three components. Then, to explore the second mechanism, I assume that agents have limited cognitive capacity and propose a dynamic process in which agents discover a new goal.My new theoretical framework will make agent-based modelingmore powerful in sociological study and, therefore, more attractive to sociologists.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationReconstruction of the Public Sphere in the Socially Mediated Age
    PublisherSpringer Singapore
    Pages37-46
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Electronic)9789811061387
    ISBN (Print)9789811061370
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 31

    Keywords

    • Agent-based model
    • Rationality
    • Reflexivity
    • Social theory

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Computer Science(all)
    • Social Sciences(all)

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