"Organized All the Way Down: The Local Complexity of "Thick" Social Systems"
Most discussions of social systems treat their degree of complexity as an emergent property, one all the more spectacular because arising from simple and highly constrained local interactions. However, there is a particular class of social systems – for example, groups of friends; regional clusters of national states – in which base interactions are “thick,” i.e., in which the very nature of the interaction is constructed by the participants, as one of many possibilities, at the moment they engage in it. In these systems, the local interactions are themselves complex and the systems display no strongly emergent features. Computational modeling of these systems must accordingly be modified from extant “thin” approaches in a more sociolinguistic direction.