CSH Workshop: “Evolution of Social Complexity”

Oct 02, 2017Oct 03, 2017

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Organized by Peter Turchin.


October 2, 9:00–17:00

October 3, 9:00–17:00


Over the past 10,000 years human societies evolved from “simple”—small egalitarian groups, integrated by face-to-face interactions,—to “complex”—huge anonymous societies of millions, characterized by great differentials in wealth and power, extensive division of labor, elaborate governance structures, and sophisticated information systems. Social complexity, however, is a characteristic that has proven difficult to conceptualize and quantify. Many researchers argue that there is no single dimension along which social complexity can be measured; there must be multiple dimensions or variable manifestations of complexity. Another common view is that different societies have unique histories and cannot be meaningfully compared in this way. This workshop will bring together researchers from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds to discuss the following questions: Can we measure Social Complexity? How many dimensions does it have? Can results from a recent analysis of 400 societies in Seshat: Global History Databank throw light on these questions? Assuming we can quantify it, what were the evolutionary forces that explain the dramatic increase in Social Complexity over the past 10,000 years? And, finally, is there a downside to complexity—are overly complex societies unstable and vulnerable to collapse?

Please find the workshop agenda HERE. If you are interested to participate please email to office@csh.ac.at.


Oct 02, 2017
Oct 03, 2017


Complexity Science Hub Vienna
+43 1 59991 600
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CSH Vienna
Josefstaedter Straße 39
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+43 1 59991 600
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