Complexity theory

Hansen, Claire (2014) Complexity theory. Shakespeare Reloaded.

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Abstract

[Extract] What is complexity theory?

To use complexity theory is to unlearn the way we traditionally understand the world. Our ways of thinking and of teaching and learning are often based on concepts such as linearity and cause-and-effect, of proportionality and order, of traditional Newtonian views of the world. Complexity theory takes a very different view. This theory or framework is a way to understand the natural, biological, social systems that we encounter and in which we are active members. It developed from scientific disciplines and is emerging as a useful new approach in disciplines including education. But complexity theory is not simply a framework transferred from the sciences into the humanities. It is a 'way of seeing the world' that is flourishing in a variety of different disciplines in both the sciences and the arts. Even in fields where complexity theory is not explicitly used, it is often implicitly present:

A few decades ago, it was still being described as the 'new paradigm' and an 'emerging worldview.' Now virtually all research in the physical sciences is implicitly complexivist – and one would be hard pressed to find research in the social sciences and humanities that is not deeply committed to such notions as co-participations, complex entanglements, decentralised structures, co-adaptive dynamics, self-determination, and non-linear unfoldings. (Brent Davis and Dennis Sumara, "Fitting Teacher Education in/to/for an Increasingly Complex World," Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education 9, no. 1, 2012: 30.)

For some, complexity theory will sound familiar, because it recognises and tries to account for how the world works. It identifies systems in our natural and social worlds that exhibit certain behavioural patterns and aims to understand how they operate.

Item ID: 65261
Item Type: Article (Other)
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2021 23:57
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200503 British and Irish Literature @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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