The Evolutionary Significance of Affect in Groups: Communication and Group Bonding

Recent theorizing and research have attempted to explicate the functions of moods and emotions within small groups. In this paper, we examine these areas and suggest that affect in groups, as well as specific mechanisms to regulate and maintain certain affective states in groups, have had important roles in promoting group survival over evolutionary history. Specifically, we suggest that affect in groups serves a coordination function, which can take one of two forms. First, affect in groups quickly provides information about the environment and group structure to other group members, thus coordinating group activity via a communication function. Second, shared affect in groups coordinates group activity through fostering group bonds and group loyalty. These two functions of affect in groups are closely related and mutually reinforcing. Current research and directions for future research within an evolutionary perspective are also discussed.


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Social Capital as a Health Resource in Later Life: The Relevance of Context

This book examines the social aspects of healthy aging for older individuals. It features more than 15 papers that explore the relevance of the social environment for health on the micro, meso, and macro level. Overall, the book applies a comprehensive contextual approach that includes discussion of how family and friends, neighborhoods, nations, and welfare regimes influence health. The book first explores the issue on the individual level. It looks at the importance of social capital for health among older people, examines types of social networks and health among older Americans, as well as discusses dynamic social capital and mental health in late life. Next, the book looks at the issue through a neighborhood and societal…


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Perspectives on Community Well-Being

This volume brings together multiple diverse perspectives from around the globe on quality of life and community well-being from a place-based perspective. It provides both conceptual and applied explorations across disciplines, ideas, and perspectives to foster more interest and research in community well-being. Topics include surveying at the community level, child-friendly communities, collective impact, grieving, and happiness. Those working in the areas of public policy, community development, community, and social psychology, as well as planning and development,  will find this volume particularly useful for the array of perspectives, research, and analytical approaches presented.


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The fairness identity and the emergence of inequality

Social exchange theories explain how differences in structural power can generate inequalities in exchange networks. We argue here that even in the absence of structural power differences, inequality can emerge out of the identity process. We posit that when structurally equivalent actors are uncertain about the resource levels available for distribution, different levels of the fairness identity and responses to identity non-verification will influence how they negotiate for resources. Results from an experiment that varies the fairness identity level and the identity verification of actors in two different equal power exchange networks confirm this. Absent structural power differences, the level of the fairness identity, identity non-verification, and structure of the network mutually influence the distribution of resources such that some dyads earn as much as two and a half times more than others. We discuss our findings as they pertain to unearthing the processes by which group inequalities arise and persist.


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How to face the Moral challenges of Organizations from the inside

What does it mean to face the moral challenges of organizations from the inside? This area has been largely neglected by philosophers, because of the divide between moral philosophy – which looks at the ethical choices of single individuals – and political philosophy – which asks what the institutions of a just society would be. Considering how much this matters for our lives, this has received relatively little attention. In order to understand its specific challenges, I read empirical literature on organizations, but also interviewed practitioners about their experiences. Doing so proved a fruitful approach for grasping the nuances of these moral challenges – including the vexing question of how you can remain true to your moral self when acting from within an organizational role.


Read also: Reclaiming the System: Moral Responsibility, Divided Labour, and the Role of Organizations in Society

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Communities and Networks

In Communities and Networks, Katherine Giuffre takes the science of social network analysis and applies it to key issues of living in communities, especially in urban areas, exploring questions such as: How do communities shape our lives and identities? How do they foster either conformity or innovation? What holds communities together and what happens when they fragment or fall apart? How is community life changing in response to technological advances?

Refreshingly accessible and built on fascinating case examples, this unique book provides not only the theoretical grounding necessary to understand how and why the burgeoning area of social network analysis can be useful in studying communities, but also clear technical explanations of the tools of network analysis and how to gather and analyze real-world network data. Network analysis allows us to see community life in a new perspective, with sometimes surprising results and insights, and this book enables readers to gain a deeper understanding of social life and the relationships that build (and break) communities.

This engaging text will be an exciting new resource for upper-level undergraduate and beginning graduate students in a wide range of courses including social network analysis, community studies, urban studies, organizational studies, and quantitative methods.


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Culture and Community: Evaluation of Community Experiences

To what extent does community experience differ between low‐context and high‐context societies? Prior literature theorizes that community experience consists of two separate, yet highly related concepts: community attachment, an individual’s general rootedness to a place, and community satisfaction, how well an individual’s community meets their societal needs. We test this conceptualization of community experience across communities in the United States and two Southeast Asian nations: Thailand and Vietnam. We argue that Southeast Asian nations constitute “high‐context” societies with relatively high social integration and solidarity while the United States is more individualized and less socially integrated and thus constitutes a “low‐context” society. Our results provide empirical evidence that individuals’ experience of community varies between low‐ and high‐context societies. These results demonstrate that cultural context continues to matter in regards to the lived experience of community and researchers need to remain vigilant in accounting for such differences as they seek to examine the concept of community more broadly.


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Improving Urban Mobility by Understanding its Complexity

What makes mobility complex is that it is full of interactions. Interactions between pedestrians, between cars, between buses, between trains, between vehicles and infrastructure. In any mobility system, each component cannot be studied in isolation, as its future is partly but strongly determined by its interactions with other components and its environment. These interactions make it difficult to separate the components of a complex system. Traditional scientific and engineering methods rely on separability, and thus we need to use novel approaches. If we cannot study components individually, we need to model at the same time two levels of abstraction: the component level and the system level. We must understand how interactions between components give rise to system properties, and also how system properties constrain and promote behaviors and states of the components. Computer simulations have been the ideal tool for this, to the point that they have been compared with microscopes or telescopes which allow us to explore the microworld and the macroworld. Computer simulations allow us to explore the complex world.


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Self-organizing urban transportation systems

Urban transportation is a complex phenomenon. Since many agents are constantly interacting in parallel, it is difficult to predict the future state of a transportation system. Because of this, optimization techniques tend to give obsolete solutions, as the problem changes before it can be optimized. An alternative lies in seeking adaptive solutions. This adaptation can be achieved with self-organization. In a self-organizing transportation system, the elements of the system follow local rules to achieve a global solution. Like this, when the problem changes the system can adapt by itself to the new configuration.

In this chapter, I will review recent, current, and future work on self-organizing transportation systems. Self-organizing traffic lights have proven to improve traffic flow considerably over traditional methods. In public transportation systems, simple rules are being explored to prevent the \equal headway instability” phenomenon. The methods we have used can be also applied to other urban transportation systems and their generality is discussed.


Posted in Cities, Self-organization, Self-organized systems, Transport, Urban | Tagged , , , ,

Adaptive Cities: A Cybernetic Perspective on Urban System

Cities are changing constantly. All urban systems face different conditions from day to day. Even when averaged regularities can be found, urban systems will be more client if they can adapt to changes at the same speeds at which these occur. Technology can assist humans in achieving this adaptation. Inspired by cybernetics, we propose a description of cities as adaptive systems. We identify three main components: information, algorithms, and agents, which we illustrate with current and future examples. The implications of adaptive cities are manifold, with direct impacts on mobility, sustainability, resilience, governance, and society. Still, the potential of adaptive cities will not depend so much on technology as on how we use it.


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