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Revista mexicana de ciencias políticas y sociales

Print version ISSN 0185-1918


RODRIGUEZ ZOYA, Leonardo Gabriel  and  ROGGERO, Pascal. Agent-Based Models: Epistemological and Theoretical Contributions to Social Research. Rev. mex. cienc. polít. soc [online]. 2015, vol.60, n.225, pp.227-261. ISSN 0185-1918.

Agent-based models (ABM) constitute a new generation of computer based methods that allow the modeling of the structure of a complex system and simulation of its dynamic evolution over time. The use of ABM constitutes a methodological tendency expanding in contemporary social sciences; however, these models remain quite unknown and not frequently taught in the field of sociology. They therefore represent a minor methodological alternative among social researchers. The purpose of this work is to introduce social scientists to the main ideas of the agent-based models as they are articulated with certain theoretical and methodological problems of the social sciences. The first section puts into question the relationship between agent-based models and complex systems in a critical epistemological perspective. Subsequently, the contributions of ABM to social research are analyzed, and in the third section, their application in the framework of a specific discipline, political science, is assessed. Finally, a practical example of a simulation based on agents from the classic work of Thomas Schelling about racial segregation is developed.

Keywords : agent-based model; complex systems; social simulation; social complexity; epistemology; computational sociology.

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