Claes Andersson

Senior forskare at Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

With coworkers (students – former and present - other faculty in the complex systems group and international collaborators), my research focus is to develop new ways of understanding the evolution and organization of human societies. My research at the moment deals with issues concerning the deep human past, opinion dynamics and economic geography. We work on several levels – from specific case studies up to basic concept, model and method development. The basis for our work is the presence of features of systems under adaptive transformation that are common to just about any instance: animal culture, early hominin culture, modern culture, biological organic evolution – even how we distribute our activities today across geographical and social space. In particular, I think the origins and evolution of human societies is key to understanding our social world. Social science and history is quite truncated here – many of the features of the systems and their dynamics must be taken simply as facts. But it is impossible to look at our pre-historic emergence from a great ape state without noticing how our cultural and biological features evolved together. Culture makes us human, but we are very specifically adapted organisms – culture doesn’t make dogs human for example! Understanding this is key to understanding, for example, how nature and nurture should be delineated and how their interplay should be understood. We lack a fundamental understanding of how humans evolved – what type of creatures we are, what type of evolutionary trajectory are we looking at?I take an interest also in understanding the organization and dynamics quite fundamentally: What type of system are we talking about? What features do problems and solutions in such a system have with regard to finding, understanding and dealing with them? Policy-related research is actually quite inexplicit about how it conceives of the systems and problems under study. Society is complex – but what is it to be complex? How does the complexity of societies compare with the way in which, say, bird flocks and computers are complex systems? What does this tell us about what methodologies and tools we should be using or developing? About the types of goals that we may have?Key to the type of complexity we see in human societies is a general lack of clear scale separations. The dynamics of generated higher levels of organization unfold on timescales that overlap with those on lower levels – and there is in the general case no way to make a clear cut across cultural systems. The rules of the game change on similar times scales that the game itself changes. We call such systems, and others like them, “Wicked Systems” (see Societal Systems: Complex or Worse below) – and to understand them we think we need a constructively critical attitude to current approaches in science, one where one takes care not to throw the baby out with the bathwater!

Source: chalmers.se

Publications

2018

Wickedness and the anatomy of complexity

Claes Andersson, Petter Törnberg
Futures. Vol. 95, p. 118-138
Journal article
2016

The evolution of cultural complexity: Not by the treadmill alone

Claes Andersson, Dwight Read
Current Anthropology. Vol. 57 (3), p. 261-286
Journal article
2015

Generative Entrenchment and transitions: an explicit model of systemic dependences and developmental histories (with the example of electrification)

Claes Andersson, Malte Rödl
International Sustainability Transitions Conference 2015
Paper in proceedings
2014

Complexity Science and Sustainability Transitions

Claes Andersson
Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. Vol. 11, p. 50-53
Magazine article
2014

Societal Systems - Complex or worse?

Claes Andersson, Anton Törnberg, Petter Törnberg
Futures. Vol. 63, p. 145-157
Journal article
2014

Group size and cultural complexity

Claes Andersson, Dwight Read
Nature. Vol. 511 (7507), p. E1-
Journal article
2014

Developing of the future: scaffolded Darwinism in societal evolution

Claes Andersson, Anton Törnberg, Petter Törnberg
Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Vol. 37 (4), p. 417-418
Journal article
2014

An evolutionary developmental approach to cultural evolution

Claes Andersson, Anton Törnberg, Petter Törnberg
Current Anthropology. Vol. 55 (2), p. 154-174
Journal article
2014

A new perspective on innovation

Claes Andersson
Report
2013

Fidelity and the emergence of stable and cumulative sociotechnical systems

Claes Andersson
PaleoAnthropology. Vol. Accepterad
Magazine article
2011

Splitting the replicator: generalized Darwinism and the place of culture in Nature

Claes Andersson
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Vol. 80 (3), p. 657-669
Journal article
2010

Inverse Ontomimetic Simulation: A Window on Complex Systems?

Claes Andersson
Models and Simulations 4
Paper in proceedings
2008

Sophisticated selectionism as a general theory of knowledge

Claes Andersson
Biology and Philosophy. Vol. 23 (2), p. 229-242
Journal article
2006

The embryology of an urban growth model

Claes Andersson
Proceedings of the Workshop on the Dynamics of Complex Urban Systems
Paper in proceedings
2006

A complex networks approach to urban growth.

Claes Andersson, Koen Frenken, Alexander Hellervik
Environment and Planning A. Vol. 38, p. 1941-1964
Journal article
2005

A spatial network explanation for a hierarchy of urban power laws.

Claes Andersson, Alexander Hellervik, Kristian Lindgren
Physica A. Vol. 345 (227)
Journal article
2005

Urban Evolution

Claes Andersson
Doctoral thesis
2004

Assessing the impact of temporal dynamics on land-use change modelling

Liu Xiaohang, Claes Andersson
Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. Vol. 28, p. 124-
Journal article
2003

The urban economy as a scale-free network.

Claes Andersson, Alexander Hellervik, Kristian Lindgren et al
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics. Vol. 68, p. 036124-
Journal article
2003

The urban economy as a scale-free network

Claes Andersson, Anders Hagson, Alexander Hellervik et al
Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications. Vol. 345 (1), p. 227-244
Journal article
2002

Urban growth from "first principles".

Claes Andersson, Kristian Lindgren, Steen Rasmussen et al
Physical Review E. Vol. 67, p. 026204-
Journal article
2002

Urban settlement transitions

Claes Andersson, Steen Rasmussen, R White
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design. Vol. 29, p. 841-865
Journal article
2001

Complex Systems in Urban Growth

Claes Andersson
Licentiate thesis
2001

First exploration on the impact of temporal resolution on dynamic land use change modelling

Liu Xiaohang, Claes Andersson
University Consortium of Geographical Information Science Summer Assembly 2001
Paper in proceedings
2000

Modeling cities: The Los Alamos urban security initiative

Grant Heiken, Greg A Valentine, Michael Brown et al
Public Works Management and Policy. Vol. 4 (3), p. 198-212
Journal article
1998

Evolving coupled map lattices for computation

Claes Andersson, Mats G Nordahl
In Wolfgang Banzhaf, Ricardo Poli, Marc Schoenauer, and Terrence C. Fogarty (editors), Proceedings of the First European Workshop on Genetic Programming. Vol. 1391 (LNCS), p. 151-162, Springer Verlag
Book chapter

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Projects

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