Socionics pp 15-35 | Cite as

From “Clean” Mechanisms to “Dirty” Models: Methodological Perspectives of an Up-Scaling of Actor Constellations

  • Uwe Schimank
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3413)


Quantitative and qualitative directions of an up-scaling of sociological and socionic models are discussed. In sociology, problems of up-scaling result from the fact that explanations of structural dynamics do not work with laws but with mechanisms. In contrast to scientific laws or simple correlations, a mechanism is a step-by-step analytical description of the social dynamics which bring about the respective structural effect. If models are up-scaled, the relations between their various independent and dependent variables become more and more ”fuzzy” and a tension can be identified between ”clean” mechanisms and ”dirty” models. Although sociological and socionic models are always constructed for specific cases, with all implications of ”dirtiness”, it will be argued that ”clean” mechanisms are not only helpful but indispensable: The ”dirtier” the models become with up-scaling, the ”cleaner” must be the mechanisms used in modelling to support scientific generalization.


Structural Dynamic Social Network Analysis Actor Constellation Dirty Hand Explanatory Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uwe Schimank
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für SoziologieFernUniversität in HagenHagenGermany

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