Dissemination of Cultural Norms and Values: Agent-Based Modeling

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This article shows how agent-based modeling allows us to explore the mechanisms of the dissemination of cultural norms and values both within one country and in the whole world. In recent years, this type of simulation is particularly prevalent in the analysis of international relations, becoming more popular than the system dynamics and discrete event simulation. The use of agent-based modeling in the analysis of international relations is connected with the agent-structure problem in international relations. Structure and agents act as interdependent and dynamically changing in the process of interaction between entities. Agent-structure interaction could be modeled by means of the theory of complex adaptive systems with the use of agent-based modeling techniques. One of the first examples of the use of agent-based modeling in political science is a model of racial segregation T. Shellinga. On the basis of this model, the author shows how the change in behavioral patterns at micro-level impacts on the macro-level. Patterns are changing due to the dynamics of cultural norms and values, formed by mass-media and other social institutes. The author shows the main areas of modern application of agent-based modeling in international studies including the analysis of ethnic conflicts, the formation of international coalitions. Particular attention is paid to Robert Axelrod approach based on the use of genetic algorithms to the spread of cultural norms and values. Agent-based modeling shows how to how to create such conditions that the norms that originally are not shared by a significant part of the population, eventually spread everywhere. Practical application of these algorithms is shown by the author of the article on the example of the situation in Ukraine in 2015-2016. The article also reveals the mechanisms of international spread of cultural norms and values. The main think-tanks using agent-based modeling in international studies are mentioned as well as the most frequently used software. It has been shown that a significant part of the research on this issue is of great practical importance.

About the authors

Denis Andreevich Degterev

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

Author for correspondence.
Email: degterev_da@pfur.ru

Department of Theory and History of International Relations


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