Complex Polities in the Age of Modern States

dc.contributor.authorCioffi-Revilla, Claudio
dc.descriptionPaper prepared for presentation at the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, March 16–19, 2011.
dc.description.abstractComplex polities are political systems composed of both official "vertical" state institutions as well as one or more alternative set of "horizontal" institutions, such as religious, economic, paramilitary, or even criminal organizations. Both vertical and horizontal polities that compose complex polities have policy-making capacity engaged in the provision of public (and in some cases private) goods aimed at addressing various societal needs. While complex polities have existed since early antiquity, from a world historical perspective it is only since ca. 1500 CE and the formation of modern European states that contending vertical and horizontal polities have produced specialized institutions in competition and collaboration with the state. Moreover, complex polities for global governance also appear in the world system since ca. 1500 CE. This paper will present a theory of complex polities based on a computational perspective that is implemented in agent-based models of coupled socio-techno-natural systems - i.e., systems of governance that integrate societies and natural environments through artificial systems that mediate between the two at many scales, from local to global.
dc.description.sponsorshipFunding was provided by the Center for Social Complexity at George Mason University and by grants from the US National Science Foundation (HSD 0527471) and the Office of Naval Research (MURI N00014-08-1-0921).
dc.identifier.citationCioffi-Revilla, C. 2011. "Complex Polities in the Age of Modern States." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association Annual Conference "Global Governance: Political Authority in Transition," Montreal, Canada.
dc.publisherInternational Studies Association
dc.rightsClaudio Cioffi-Revilla
dc.subjectComplex polities
dc.subjectPolitical systems
dc.subjectAgent-based models
dc.titleComplex Polities in the Age of Modern States


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