Complex Societal Dynamics
Security Challenges and Opportunities
# of pages280
This book contains 20 papers drawn from presentations and discussions at the NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Complex Societal Dynamics: Security Challenges and Opportunities, held in Zagreb, Croatia in December 2009. The theory of complex systems views societies as complex configurations of actors engaged in overlapping and interlocking patterns of relationship. While the rapid development of computing capabilities has provided the tools to study complex systems in a controlled, repeatable and rigorous manner, these are rarely applied to the security domain, and security experts are not adequately informed as to the applicability of such systems to their areas of concern. This book, and the ARW that it summarizes, address this problem with a forum where the fields of complexity and security meet. The papers presented here attest to the diversity of scientific approaches - including some classic methodologies from physics and economics – which can be applied to complex societal dynamics and its implications for security. Subjects covered include: the social construction of security and threats, scientific reasoning as a tool for making policy decisions, European counter terrorism infrastructure, anthropological studies of human interactional networks in virtual worlds, the potential threats of nanotechnology, theoretical and formal approaches to social conflict and a simulation model of phase transitions in passive supporters of terrorism. Of equal interest to those working in the fields of complexity and security, this book covers the common ground essential for an improved understanding of how complex societal processes can affect the security issue.