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Applying complexity theoryWhole systems approaches to criminal justice and social work$
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Aaron Pycroft and Clemens Bartollas

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447311409

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447311409.001.0001

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Complexity Theory: an Overview

Complexity Theory: an Overview

Chapter:
(p.15) One Complexity Theory: an Overview
Source:
Applying complexity theory
Author(s):

Aaron Pycroft

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447311409.003.0002

Through introducing the key concepts that are foundational to an understanding of complexity theory and its relevance to criminal justice and social work, Chapter One provides important contextual information for the following chapters in the book. The chapter aims to familiarise readers with the vocabulary of complexity theory as a branch of the study of NDS, including notions of complex deterministic systems, attractors, non-linearity, chaos, self-organisation, emergent properties and adaptation. The chapter will also explore the background to key debates in the study of complexity by considering, for example, the highly contested relevance of mathematically derived notions of chaos to the reality of being human. Different approaches to these areas of study are (broadly) defined by positivism, post-positivism, and constructivism.

Keywords:   complexity, NDS, complex deterministic systems, attractors, non-linearity, chaos, emergent properties, adaptation

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