SOC 260 - Tipping Points, Bandwagons and Cascades: From Individual Behavior to Social Dynamics
Section: 001
Term: FA 2009
Subject: Sociology (SOC)
Department: LSA Sociology
Credits:
3
Waitlist Capacity:
99
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

In this class, we examine how interdependent behaviors of individuals can lead to some surprising and unexpected social outcomes. We will explore both theoretical models and empirical applications of social dynamics, including sexual networks and marriage markets, the formation and transformation of neighborhoods, the success or failure of social movements, and the diffusion of innovation.

There are many situations in which how we behave depends on the behavior of others. We can be influenced by our friends and also by complete strangers. Social influence may be trivial and fleeting, or enduring and highly consequential. For example, whom a person dates or marries depends on both her attraction to potential suitors as well as the characteristics and preferences of the competition. Similarly, racially integrated neighborhoods often end up completely segregated due to the domino effect produced by the out-migration of a few less tolerant whites. In this class, we examine how interdependent behaviors of individuals can lead to some surprising and unexpected social outcomes. We will explore both theoretical models and empirical applications of social dynamics, including sexual networks and marriage markets, the formation and transformation of neighborhoods, the success or failure of social movements, and the diffusion of innovation. The course includes both a seminar and lab component, and student participation counts for a significant portion of the total grade. During the semester, students will be required to write three short papers and complete a set of laboratory exercises.

Crs Requirements: The students will write three 5-10 page papers for the class. They will also complete a series of lab exercises that are designed to illustrate the various applications of interdependent behavior that we discuss in class (e.g., networks, prisoner's dilemma, tipping points, etc.) Students will learn basic programming skills in the lab. They will also build simple, virtual worlds, and then using those worlds to perform different experiments about the relationship between individual behavior and social dynamics.

Intended Audience: Freshmen and sophomores.

Class Format: 3 hour seminar for first five weeks, then 1.5 hour seminar and 1.5 hour lab per week for the remaining ten weeks.

SOC 260 - Tipping Points, Bandwagons and Cascades: From Individual Behavior to Social Dynamics
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
46341
Open
1
 
-
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
002 (LAB)
 
46342
Open
1
 
-
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.


Coursepack Location:
Excel (1117 S. University, Phone: 734/996-1500)
Note:
Course pack available at the start of Fall semester. Readings will also be posted online.
ISBN: 9780691138541
The difference : how the power of diversity creates better groups, firms, schools, and societies, Author: Scott E. Page., Publisher: Princeton University Press 2008
Required
ISBN: 9780192861627
Prisoner's dilemma : John von Neumann, game theory and the puzzle of the bomb., Author: Poundstone, William., Publisher: Oxford University Press 1993
Required
ISBN: 9780691127026
Complex adaptive systems : an introduction to computational models of social life, Author: Miller, John H. (John Howard), 1959-, Publisher: Princeton University Press 2007
Required
ISBN: 9780393041422
Six degrees : the science of a connected age, Author: Watts, Duncan J., 1971-, Publisher: Norton 2003
Required
ISBN: 9780738206677
Linked : the new science of networks, Author: Baraba?si, Albert-La?szlo?., Publisher: Perseus Pub 2002
Optional
ISBN: 9780316316965
The tipping point : how little things can make a big difference, Author: Gladwell, Malcolm, 1963-, Publisher: Little, Brown 2000
Optional
ISBN: 0393329461
Micromotives and macrobehavior : with a new preface and the Nobel lecture, Author: Schelling, Thomas C., 1921-, Publisher: Norton 2006
Optional
ISBN: 9780385503860
The wisdom of crowds : why the many are smarter than the few and how collective wisdom shapes business, economies, societies, and nations, Author: Surowiecki, James, 1967-, Publisher: Doubleday 2004
Optional
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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