Douglas R. White, PhD Minnesota, 1969, and born in 1942 in Minneapolis, is a social anthropologist whose work includes mathematical modeling and network analysis and simulation in sociology. His fields of study include political economic and social networks, ethnohistorical sociology, comparative and long-term ethnographic studies, global political history, and the role of cohesive marriage and kinship networks in larger sociopolitical systems. Partly schooled as an exchange student in Madrid, he did graduate school as a Traveling Scholar on a National Institute of Mental Health predoctoral Fellowship at Columbia, Minnesota, and Michigan. Having worked extensively in Europe, his long-term awards include the Alexander von Humboldt Distinguished Senior Scientist in Germany, the Ministry of Research bourse in Paris, and research directorships in the Irish Republic Ministries of Finance and the Gaeltacht. He teaches at the University of California, Irvine (Anthropology and Institute of Mathematical Behavioral Sciences), where he chairs the faculty in Social Dynamics and Complexity. He serves as a complexity sciences external faculty of the Santa Fe Institute, and as Editor-in-Chief of the UC Structure and Dynamics eJournal. He is Editor and Sysop of the InterSciWiki in complexity and network sciences.
White is interested in the big questions of how global structure and dynamics relate to local level processes. How do societies, cultures, social roles, organizations, polities, cities and city systems, and historical agents of change and innovation evolve and interact dynamically out of multiple networks of social action? How do these entities maintain or lose sustainability? How does the network structure of the world political economy interact with the opportunity and constraint structures of more localized social activity? To what extent do diffuse "weak-tie" structures and focused "strong tie" networks of trust, for example, operate to construct social class, ethnicity, gender roles, social cognition, and the particular social structures of local communities embedded as they are in a larger political economy? How are economic configurations, transport systems and trade, defensive and aggressive coalitions, configured by network dynamics?