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Socioeconomic Complexity and the Sociological Tradition: New Wine in Old Bottles

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  • João Carlos Graça
  • João Carlos Lopes

Abstract

Complexity is a purposeful integrating framework for interdisciplinary dialogue, namely between sociologists and economists. After presenting some properties of complex (social) systems, we consider the crucial role of the economic complexity research agenda in challenging the mainstream economic paradigm. This endeavor, we suggest, can greatly benefit from a neglected but relevant aspect, the concern regarding social complexity implicit in the sociological tradition, particularly the emphasis given by Durkheim to the idea of interdependence, a keystone of complexity studies nowadays. As we underline, instead of assuming interdependence/complexity and autonomy/simplicity in a tradeoff relationship, the French sociologist takes interdependence and autonomy as fundamentally complementary and positively correlated characteristics of modern societies. This fact suggests the convenience to conceptualize complexity as a broad socioeconomic, and not just a strict economic, phenomenon. Such a purpose is certainly more damaged than benefited by the existence of the economics/sociology academic divide.

Suggested Citation

  • João Carlos Graça & João Carlos Lopes, 2008. "Socioeconomic Complexity and the Sociological Tradition: New Wine in Old Bottles," Working Papers Department of Economics 2008/47, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • Handle: RePEc:ise:isegwp:wp472008
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    Keywords

    Socioeconomic complexity; interdependence; autonomy; sociological tradition; Durkheim;

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