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date: 28 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The last half century has witnessed the digitization of human life, with a sharp inflection point being the widespread adoption of the Internet. In the wake of this digitization the phrase “big data” has been coined. Because many big data are explicitly or implicitly relational, this digitization of humanity has been critical in the increase in the study of networks. Further, since this digitization process continues not only forward but backward (e.g., through the scanning of millions of books and news periodicals going back for centuries), it is likely that the social sciences will be recentered over the next generation around computational approaches to data emphasizing (1) the relational aspects of human behavior, (2) phenomena that exist on societal scales rather than just individual ones, and (3) the dynamics of human behavior. This chapter discusses, in particular, the potential transformation of political science in these directions.

Keywords: digitization, Internet, big data, computational social science, human behavior, political science, computational approaches

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