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Complexity in World Politics: Concepts And Methods of a New Paradigm (Suny Series in Global Politics) Hardcover – July 6, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Despite one hundred years of theorizing, scholars and practitioners alike are constantly surprised by international and global political events. The collapse of communism in Europe, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and 9/11 have demonstrated the inadequacy of current models that depict world politics as a simple, mechanical system. Complexity in World Politics shows how conventional theories oversimplify reality and illustrates how concepts drawn from complexity science can be adapted to increase our understanding of world politics and improve policy. In language free of jargon, the book’s distinguished contributors explain and illustrate a complexity paradigm of world politics and define its central concepts. They show how these concepts can improve conventional models as well as generate new ideas, hypotheses, and empirical approaches, and conclude by outlining an agenda of theoretical development and empirical research to create and test complex systems theories of issue-areas of world politics.

"This book is well written and easily accessible, with essays by some of the major thinkers in the field of complexity science. It makes a number of intellectual contributions and helps fill a gap in the existing literature." — Scott E. Page, coeditor of Computational Models in Political Economy

Contributors include Robert Axelrod, Ravi Bhavnani, Walter C. Clemens Jr., David C. Earnest, Neil E. Harrison, Matthew J. Hoffmann, James N. Rosenau, Dennis J. D. Sandole, Desmond Saunders-Newton, and J. David Singer.

About the Author

Neil E. Harrison is Founder and Executive Director of the Sustainable Development Institute and the author of Constructing Sustainable Development, also published by SUNY Press.

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More About the Author

Neil Harrison, the executive director of The Sustainable Development Institute (see, brings a variety of experiences to his writing, and it may show. He has worked in the City of London, audited multinationals, and managed small business (and started a few). Along the way he has earned a PhD and become interested in the big environmental challenges that threaten our planet and our lives.

A fascination with the science of complex systems, with which he feels an intuitive connection, has led him to use many of its concepts and ideas to study and understand sustainable development and world politics (see "Complexity in World Politics"). Sustainable development is commonly misunderstood as conserving the environment by regulating society. His recent book "Sustainable Capitalism and the Pursuit of Well-Being" shows that human enjoyment of life is critical to sustainability.

Neil plans more books along these lines that show each of us how to enjoy our lives more and consume less, and how businesses can contribute to sustainability by pursuing profits in the right way.

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