Structural Microfoundations of the Society

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

10.30 a.m.

ISI Foundation 2nd floor

Dr. Tamas David-Barrett University of Oxford

You are my love. You are my sister. You are my friend. A trivial fact of our species’ social life is that human social network edge type vary. This variation is not only important for each of these relationships, but also for the structure of the social network around us.
This talk will outline the theoretical models for what happens to the social network structure when the bulk of these relationships change. Our societies shift from kinship network to friendship networks due to falling fertility, urbanisation, and migration. Second, the talk will offer an overview the existing empirical evidence using large datasets, and suggest explicit empirical hypotheses. The final part will cover how three further phenomena is predicted by this theory, and ideas of how to test these: the rise of modern law, value fundamentalism, and fake news.

Tamas David-Barrett is an evolutionary behavioural scientist, whose research asks what traits allow humans to live in large and culturally complex societies. He is especially interested in the architecture of social networks, and the evolutionary origins of social network building traits. Tamas’s structural microfoundation theory offers a new understanding of human societies, and brings biological and social science models under a shared umbrella. Tamás is based in Oxford where he teaches at Trinity College. He was educated in London, Cambridge, Jerusalem, and Budapest. Before becoming an academic, he ran a macroeconomic research consultancy and worked all around the planet.