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In Search of Mechanisms. The Role of the Agent-Based Model in connecting Analytical Sociology and Classical Social Research: the Case of Merton’s Theory of Values Homophily
Author/s: Hynek Jerábek, Carmelo Lombardo, E. Neri Ballati, Juraj Schenk 
Year:  2015 Issue: 106 Language: Italian 
Pages:  34 Pg. 81-114 FullText PDF:  236 KB
DOI:  10.3280/SR2015-106005
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Thanks Analytical Sociology, the concept of mechanism occupies a central place in contemporary sociology. Its intuitive and spontaneous use, however, characterized a part of empirical social research in the past, especially that developed by Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Robert K. Merton at Columbia University in the 1940’s and 1950’s. In this article, our aim is to explore a possible connection between these two research traditions, using the methodological tool of computational simulation. Specifically, the article discusses two hypotheses formulated by Lazarsfeld and Merton: the hypothesis of gratification, resulting from the duration of social interaction, and the hypothesis of formation of new social ties after a friendship breakup. Therefore, we implement four scenarios, each representing a specific combination of hypotheses. The results allow us to clearly observe four different emerging social patterns that are generated from the micro level by the interaction between individual agents who follow the mechanisms inspired by the original formulation of the theory. Through thes simulations, we can examine the unexpected effects - on a system of action - caused by the introduction of Lazarsfeld and Merton’s hypotheses

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Hynek Jerábek, Carmelo Lombardo, E. Neri Ballati, Juraj Schenk, in "SOCIOLOGIA E RICERCA SOCIALE " 106/2015, pp. 81-114, DOI:10.3280/SR2015-106005


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