Prospectus: Human Complexity

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This list is intended for a book on Human Complexity by Douglas R. White and for Anthro 174AW. Also see list at Santa Fe Institute page.

Homo egalensis

  • Unsustainable top predator or sustainable keeper of biodiversity?
  • Commentary on Born to Run By Christopher Mcdougall -- Top Predator (egalensis is a neologism)
  • Commentary on Christopher Boehm -- Egalitarianism
  • Commentary on Douglas Fry, Peter Turchin -- Peace and Conflict
  • Commentary on George Modelski -- Globalization

The senses of human complexity

Culture, science and the world

Sexual Division of Labor, Warfare, and Money

White, D. R., M. Burton, L. Brudner. "Entailment Theory and Method: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Sexual Division of Labor." Behavior Science Research 12 no. 1 (1977): 1-24.

  • Why is this complex? The basic design here (and in the industrial sexual division of labor) is least effort and energy efficient. Complexity comes in with the boundary conditions between different communities, especially with ethnic differences, where males at the spatially peripheral tasks of each community are likely to engage in conflict, and with the factors that lead to greater male contributions to subsistence. See Yaneer Bar-Yam & co. on ethnic violence.
  • Commentary on male/female contributions to subsistence
  • Commentary on diffusive spread of warfare
  • Commentary on diffusive spread of money and its effects


White, D. R., and P. Jorion. "Representing and Computing Kinship: A New Approach." Current Anthropology 33 no. 4 (1992): 454-463.

White, D. R. "Controlled Simulation of Marriage Systems." Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 2 no. 3 (1999): art. 1.

Brudner, L. A., and D. R. White. "Class, Property and Structural Endogamy: Visualizing Networked Histories." Theory and Society 25 no. 2 (1997): 161-208.

White, D. R. 2009 Kinship, Class, and Community. In P. Carrington, J. C. Scott (Eds.), Chapter 10: Sage Handbook of Social Networks.

White, D. R., and M. Houseman. "The Navigability of Strong Ties: Small Worlds, Tie Strength and Network Topology." Complexity 8 no. 1 (2002): 72-81.

  • Commentary on two forms of complexity in marriage networks

Wealth and Property

  • Commentary on Duran Bell's theory of wealth-holding lineages. Corporate kinship lineages typically hold wealth (wealth-producing assets) customarily transferred through inheritance.
  • As Hernando de Soto notes, however, wealth assets transferred through inheritance are not recognized as property by national governments. The feudal system (Europe, Japan) has no property rights for serfs. The Habsburg Empire, in about 1510, assigned property rights to Austrians (not all their dependencies) that elevated serfs to eusymptotic renters (return the property the inheritance is degraded), and created a capitalist economy. Douglas MacArthur in 1946 converted feudal Japan to a capitalist economy by locating rights to land from the feudal rights documented in the Endo period of the 16th century, and created individual and family rights in these lands and their houses as property. South Korea followed suite. So has China after Mao (the Deng reforms). The Peruvian movement that de Soto & company organized rights assigned by the land reformers to property rights by creating legal ownership documents to them. Thomas Jefferson say that the establishment of democracy and rule of law in post-colonial America required property as its foundation. Hispanic California

Five steps to property leading to democracy:

  1. Awareness
  2. Diagnosis
  3. Reform design (e.g., MacArthur, Austrian euphemtosis)
  4. Implementation
  5. Capital formation = motivation for good government, under rule of law.


White, D. R., and K. Reitz. "Graph and Semigroup Homomorphisms." Social Networks 5 no. 2 (1983): 193-234

Smith, D., and D. R. White. "Structure and Dynamics of the Global Economy: Network Analysis of International Trade 1965-1980." Social Forces 70 no. 4 (1992): 857-894.

Reichardt, J., and D. R. White. "Role Models for Complex Networks," European Physical Journal B 60, no. 2 (2007): 217-224. Selected for Europhysics News 39 no. 2 (2008). "Highlights."

Structural cohesion

Moody, J. M., and D. R. White. "Structural Cohesion and Embeddedness: A Hierarchical Conception of Social Groups." American Sociological Review 68 no. 11 (2004): 1-25. (Outstanding Article Award in Mathematical Sociology. American Sociological Association.)

White, D. R., and F. Harary. "The Cohesiveness of Blocks in Social Networks: Node Connectivity and Conditional Density." Sociological Methodology 31 (2001): 305-359.

Subgroup centrality

White, D. R. "Ring Cohesion in Marriage and Social Networks." Mathematiques et sciences humaines 43 no. 168 (2004): 5-28.

EEstrada-based paper


Bruggeman, J., D. R. White et al. Cohesion10

White, D. R. 2009. Dynamics of Human Behavior (Cohesion and Resistance), entry 00653. Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag. SFI Working paper 08-09-042-early draft pdf - preprint Dynamics of human behavior MBS


Chapter 1. White, D. R., and U. Johansen. Network Analysis and Ethnographic Problems: Process Models of a Turkish Nomad Clan. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2006. Organizations=

White, D. R., N. Kejzar, C. Tsallis, J. D. Farmer, and S. D. White. "Generative Model for Feedback Networks." Physical Review E 73, no. 1 (2006): DOI: 016119.

Organization and Innovation

Powell, W. W., D. R. White, K. W. Koput, and J. Owen-Smith. "Network Dynamics and Field Evolution: The Growth of Interorganizational Collaboration in the Life Sciences." American Journal of Sociology 110, no. 4 (2005): 1132-205.

White, D. R. "Innovation in the Context of Networks, Hierarchies, and Cohesion." In Complexity Perspectives in Innovation and Social Change, edited by D. Lane, D. Pumain, S. van der Leeuw and G. West, 153-193. Berlin: Springer Methodos series, 2009.


White, D. R., L. Tambayong, and N. Kejžar. "Oscillatory dynamics of city-size distributions in world historical systems." In Globalization as Evolutionary Process: Modeling, Simulating, and Forecasting Global Change, edited by G. Modelski, T. Devezas and W. Thompson, 190-225. London: Routledge, 2008.

  • Commentary on the unsustainability of cities (Geoff West et al.)


  • Commentary on technological revolutions
  • Commentary on social equality and diversity


White, D. R. "Mathematical Anthropology." In Handbook of Social and Cultural Anthropology, 369-446. Editor J. J. Honigmann. Chicago: Rand-McNally, 1974.

Tambayong, L, A. A Clauset, C. R. Shalizi, and D. R. White. Drafted 2008 q-Exponential Distributions in Empirical Data

White, D. R., and P. Jorion. "Kinship networks and discrete structure theory: Applications and implications." Social Networks 18 no. 3 (1994): 267-314. Doi:10.1016/0378-8733(95)00277-4

Hamberger, K., Houseman, M., White, D. R. 2009. Kinship Network Analysis. In P. Carrington, J. C. Scott (Eds.), Sage Handbook of Social Networks.


For other publications see: [1] [2][3]

Frontier Blog on social networks