Harmonizing diversity: Tuning anthropological research to complexity

Document Type



Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, London


The contributions in this issue of Social Science Computer Review represent a range of computational approaches to theoretical and disciplinary specializations in anthropology that reflect on and expand the future orientation and practice of the formal and comparative agenda in the context of an increasing emphasis on complexity in anthropology as a discipline.Themes covered in this issue include kinship, funerary burials, urban legends, eye tracking, and looking at mode influences on online data collection. A common theme throughout the articles is examining the relationship between global emergent processes and structures and the local individual contributions to this emergence, and how the local and global contexts influence each other. We argue that unless complexity is addressed more overtly by leveraging computational approaches to data collection, analysis and theory building, anthropology and social science more generally face an existential challenge if they are to continue to pursue extended field research exercise,intersubjective productions, deep personal involvement, interaction with materiality, and engagement with people while generating research outcomes of relevance to the world beyond the narrow confines of specialist journals and conferences.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.


Social Science Computer Review