COMPUTATIONAL SOCIAL SCIENCE SEMINAR – Attribution of Responsibility and Blame Regarding a Man-made Disaster: #FlintWaterCrisis – Talha Oz and The Origin of Agriculture in the Peiligang Culture: An Agent-based Modeling Approach – Yang Zhou

When:
December 2, 2016 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
2016-12-02T15:00:00-05:00
2016-12-02T16:30:00-05:00
Where:
Center for Social Complexity Suite
3rd Floor
Research Hall, Fairfax
Campus
Cost:
Free
Contact:
Karen Underwood
7039939298

COMPUTATIONAL SOCIAL SCIENCE FRIDAY SEMINAR

 

Friday, December 2, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Center for Social Complexity Suite
Research Hall, 3rd Floor

Talha Oz, CSS PhD Student
Department of Computational and Data Sciences
George Mason University

Attribution of Responsibility and Blame Regarding a Man-made Disaster:  #FlintWaterCrisis

Attribution of responsibility and blame are important topics in political science especially as individuals tend to think of political issues in terms of questions of responsibility, and as blame carries far more weight in voting behavior than that of credit. However, surprisingly, there is a paucity of studies on the attribution of responsibility and blame in the field of disaster research.

The Flint water crisis is a story of government failure at all levels. By studying microblog posts about it, we understand how citizens assign responsibility and blame regarding such a man-made disaster online. We form hypotheses based on social scientific theories in disaster research and then operationalize them on unobtrusive, observational social media data. In particular, we investigate the following phenomena: the source for blame; the partisan predisposition; the concerned geographies; and the contagion of complaining.

This paper adds to the sociology of disasters research by exploiting a new, rarely used data source (the social web), and by employing new computational methods (such as sentiment analysis and retrospective cohort study design) on this new form of data. In this regard, this work should be seen as the first step toward drawing more challenging inferences on the sociology of disasters from “big social data”.

Yang Zhou, CSS PhD Student
Department of Computational and Data Sciences
George Mason University

The Origin of Agriculture in the Peiligang Culture: An Agent-based Modeling Approach

The emergence of agriculture played an important role in human history as it allowed people to move from a nomadic to a sedentary life. This not only provided abundant food, but also sufficient numbers of non-cultivating specialists, which are necessary conditions for the rise of civilization. However, questions about how and why agriculture originated have remained controversial. This paper explores the origin hypotheses of agriculture, using the canonical theory of social complexity as a framework to the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies in the region of the Peiligang culture in China based on existing literature, and develops an agent-based model to simulate the transition process. The model assumes that the combination of population growth and gaining knowledge on plants drove the transition to agriculture. Results show that based on the basic hypotheses and assumptions, the model is able to generate the key phases that are identical with the existing literatures.