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Social modeling applies computational methods and techniques to the analysis of social processes and human behavior. It's expected to provide conceptual and technological tools for supporting analysis and decision making in areas related to national and public security, political stability, law and order, and sociocultural changes. Modeling social and cultural processes must draw on the knowledge obtained within social sciences, including conceptual models, cultural insights, and empirical data. However, how to best integrate social scientific knowledge into modeling remains an open research problem. The author presents the perspective of a social scientist to describe why modeling can be useful for social research on political violence, social conflicts, and cultural changes. She develops an interactionist approach to interdisciplinary research practice and discusses how this approach can help identify the problems related to the integration of social scientific knowledge in modeling. The discussion focuses upon research on political violence and related sociocultural processes.
Date of Publication: July-Aug. 2008