ETHNOSIM

2017 -

Working with development ethnographers at the University of Agder and social scientists at York University, we strive to develop tools and methodologies that capture the rich details of qualitative data while harnessing the power of computer simulations.

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PUBLICATIONS

THE RISE AND FALL OF HUMANITARIAN CITIZEN INITIATIVES: A SIMULATION-BASED APPROACH

Erika Frydenlund, Jose J. Padilla, Hanne Haaland, Hege Wallevik (2020)

AbstractCitizen Initiatives for Global Solidarity (CIGS) are small, ad hoc, volunteer organizations that arise in certain humanitarian and development contexts. They operate outside of traditional aid structures and may or may not cooperate with traditional government and nongovernmental organizations. Using agent-based modeling, we derive narrative-based, qualitative scenarios from simulation data to extend the theoretical discussions of CIGS as a phenomenon. The scenarios allow further discussion of the role that CIGS may play as development and humanitarian response actors outside of the traditional context-specific descriptions of CIGS that permeate the development literature. We find that scenarios generated from the simulation data align somewhat with the qualitative researchers’ field observations, specifically in describing conditions under which some times of CIGS thrived while others failed. The points of departure from the model scenarios generated a dialogue that promises to further the theoretical and conceptual development of a generalizable framework for understanding CIGS as a phenomenon, which has been lacking in the field where most insights have been generated from country-specific, small sample case studies.

THE ROLE OF ELITES IN THE DIFFUSION OF SOCIAL NORMS OF HUMANITARIANISM

Khadijeh Salimi, Erika Frydenlund, Jose J. Padilla, Hanne Haaland, Hege Wallevik (2019)

Abstract. Certain social norms evolve without punishment as conventions that do not adversely affect society. In this paper, we depart from the notion that humanitarianism is one such social norm, where peer pressure may be the only type of punishment that encourages individuals to conform. Using an agent-based modeling approach, we examine the role that networked elites have in diffusing a non-punishment-enforced norm through an artificial society. The model considers norm advocates who promote a norm of humanitarianism,
elites who have wide networks to spread the new norm, and general individuals who evaluate the norm pushed from elites and adopted by their peers. The study finds that, regardless of starting parameter values, the population converges into two groups: norm adopters and those who oppose the norm.

MODEL CO-CREATION FROM A MODELER'S PERSPECTIVE: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE COLLABORATION BETWEEN ETHNOGRAPHERS AND MODELERS

Jose J. Padilla, Erika Frydenlund, Hege Wallewik, and Hanne Haaland (2018)

Abstract. This paper reports on the authors’ ongoing collaboration on model co-creation, a process that involves not only the reconciliation of methodologies (qualitative vs. quantitative), but also of epistemologies (empirical vs empiri-cal/rationalist) and ontologies (observable referent vs. abstracted referent). The co-creation process has taken place over several months, from early 2017, both in person, teleconferencing and via email. The result was an ethnographic model of the refugee situation in Lesbos, Greece. The qualifier “ethnographic” means that the simulation’s purpose was to capture the problem situation described by ethnographers in a manner that resembles their observations, not to answer a re-search question. Ethnographers used the modeling process – mostly elicitation and variable identification - to think about questions they had not considered in the field. Further, the used the prototype model to further narrow their desired modeling scope and ask new questions. Lastly, notes captured by the ethnog-raphers in the field highlight the challenges of the modeling situation.

HOW DOES HUMANITARIANISM SPREAD? MODELING THE ORIGINS
OF CITIZEN INITIATIVES THROUGH NORM DIFFUSION

Khadijeh Salimi, Erika Frydenlund, Jose J. Padilla, Hanne Haaland, Hege Wallevik (2018)

Abstract. This paper describes a prototype agent-based model used to explain why and how a norm of humanitarianism diffuses through a population. The model is constructed on norm diffusion theories as a foundation for developing explaining the emergence of Citizen Initiatives in a humanitarian and development context. We assume that in the model, some agents are already norm adopters (advocates), some have a humanitarian potential that can be activated with persuasion, while others will never adopt the norm of humanitarianism under any condition. In this model, we try to determine whether parameters such as agents’ values, thresholds for accepting alternative values, values degradation, and peer-pressure affect agents’ decision to become humanitarian activists.

 

PAST EVENTS/MEETINGS

METOCHI MODELING WORKSHOP

May 2017

Intensive workshop and data collection effort in Lesvos, Greece

UNIVERSITY OF AGDER MODELING WORKSHOP

August 2017

Designing ethnographic models in Kristiansand, Norway

IASFM CONFERENCE PANEL

July 2018

Citizen Initiatives for Global Solidarity presented in Thessaloniki, Greece

ARNOVA CONFERENCE PANEL

November 2018

Civic engagement in international aid – the role of Citizen Initiatives for Global Solidarity, held in Austin, TX, USA

LESVOS MODELING WORKSHOP

April 2019

Designing ethnographic models in Lesvos, Greece

EURO HOPE 2019 CONFERENCE PAPER

July 2019

Model Co-Creation: lessons learned from researching the refugee situation in Lesvos presented in The Hague, Netherlands

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