I’ve added computational social science to my Google Scholar profile for several reasons. My recently completed Monash University PhD develops a causal process tracing logic for strategic subcultures in terrorist organisations. I want to expand this logic beyond Aum Shinrikyo to other case studies. I also want to look at relevant software including Baysialab and NetLogo. I want to build and test more formal models. Finally, computational social science offers a way to advance methodological insights that will inform my evolving research agenda.
Computational Thinking by Peter J. Denning and Matti Tedre (Boston, MA: The MIT Press, 2019). In 2004-07, I was a research assistant in the Smart Internet Technology Cooperative Research Centre. One of my biggest discoveries was the computer science literature on computational thinking. I am revisiting this for post PhD research using computational social science methods: creating larger data sets from my PhD framework. This is a useful guide and part of an excellent MIT Press series on foundational concepts for contemporary digital practices.
Understanding Criminal Networks: A Research Guide by Gisela Bichler (Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2019). In my PhD, I looked at the meso-level of strategic subcultures in terrorist organisations. I scoped some future possible research using Bayesian methods. I could also have considered the meso-level insights of Social Network Analysis: Bichler’s guide has some excellent sections on data collection, networked criminology theory, and presenting research to policymakers.
J. Philippe Rushton: A Life History Perspective by Edward Dutton (Oulu, Finland: Thomas Edward Press, 2018). Rushton was a controversial Canadian professor whose life history analysis of human behaviour has influenced the Alt-Right’s ‘race realism’. Independent researcher Dutton provides an analysis of Rushton’s research and his life in terms of r/K selection theory and Differential-K sociobiology, and finds both genius and major ethical lapses. I note in particular that Rushton cherry-picked his data and engaged in serious research misconduct with the Pioneer Fund due to a lack of internal controls.
Nemesis: The Jouvenelian vs. the Liberal Model of Human Orders by C.A. Bond (Perth, Australia: Imperium Press, 2019). There’s now already a collection of books on the Alt-Right neoreactionary political subculture. It’s rarer to find books by Alt-Right theoreticians themselves. C.A. Bond uses Bertrand de Jouvenal’s work – who I first came across in Swinburne University’s former Masters program on strategic foresight in 2002 – to critique the international liberal order and its institutions. This is a useful book for macrohistory thinkers who want to understand contemporary neoreactionist perspectives, and the mobilisation of protesters in the United States against COVID-19 lockdowns.