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Accounting for Loss in Fish Stocks

A Word on Life as Biological Asset

Jennifer E. Telesca

Why have sea creatures plummeted in size and number, if experts have at their disposal sophisticated techniques to count and predict them, whether tuna, cod, dolphin, or whale? This article conducts a literature review centered on a native category that dominates discourse in marine conservation—stock—by emphasizing the word’s double meaning as both asset and population. It illuminates how a word so commonplace enables the distancing metrics of numerical abstractions to be imposed on living beings for the production of biowealth. By tracking the rise of quantitative expertise, the reader comes to know stock as a referent long aligned with the sovereign preoccupation of managing wealth and society, culminating in the mathematical model recruited today as the principal tool of authority among technocratic elites. Under the prevailing conditions of valuation, the object of marine conservation has become not a fish as being but a biological asset as stock.

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Heli Saarikoski and Kaisa Raitio

This article illustrates the interconnectedness of science and politics through a case study of old-growth forest conflict in Finnish Upper Lapland. It demonstrates the ways in which “traditional science“ has failed to settle the decades-long conflict between state forestry and traditional Sámi reindeer herding, and discusses the potential of democratization of science through more inclusive forms of knowledge production. The analysis, which is based on qualitative interview data, shows that a traditional science focus on biological indicators and mathematical modeling has provided only a partial account of the reindeer herding-forestry interactions by ignoring the local, place-specific practices that are equally important in understanding the overall quality of pasture conditions in Upper Lapland. It concludes that an inclusive inquiry, structured according to the principles of joint fact-finding, could create a more policy-relevant, and also more scientifically robust, knowledge basis for future forest management and policy decisions.

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Gauging inequality among pastoralists

A problem of comparison

Paul Spencer

Poverty is a relative concept that is most meaningful within the context of social inequality in a particular culture. Among pastoralists in east Africa, often with mixed economies and herds that tend to fluctuate erratically over time, the problem of assessing poverty and wealth can be resolved by examining profiles of polygyny to provide a comparable index of wealth. Several profiles are examined in relation to a mathematical model based on the binomial series, with an emphasis on its social rather than mathematical implications. These series are especially apt because they closely follow the distribution of wives in a substantial sample of African societies, and they reveal different types of balances between competition and conformity associated with age and with status. The purpose of this essay is to redefine the problem of poverty in terms of the social profiles of inequality, leading toward a comparative analysis between cultures.

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From Bell Curve to Power Law

Distributional Models between National and World Society

Keith Hart

Statistical patterns can be found in nature and society. Their distribution may conform to mathematical models. Thus, if two unbiased dice are rolled a thousand times, the number seven will occur with six times the frequency of two or twelve. The resulting histogram will be symmetrical with one peak where the mean, median and mode coincide. Or take a large sample of adult human beings and measure their height. Most cases will fall between five and six feet with very few less than four or more than seven feet. Because this is a continuous variable, the results can be plotted on a graph to which a curve may be fitted. It too will have a single peak with fantails on the high and low ends. We call this the ‘normal’ distribution or popularly the ‘bell curve.’ For more than a century, statistical inference has largely been based on this curve with its parameters of mean and standard deviation.

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Introduction

Doing Ritual While Thinking about It?

Emma Gobin

Frame and the Use of Mathematical Models for the Study of Ritual .” Journal of Ritual Studies 26 ( 2 ): 39 – 64 . Kreinath , Jens , Constance Hartung , and Annette Deschner , eds. 2004 . The Dynamics of Changing Rituals: The Transformation

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Jens Kreinath and Refika Sariönder

. , George Mason University . Kreinath , Jens . 2012 . “ Naven, Moebius Strip, and Random Fractal Dynamics: Reframing Batesons Play Frame and the Use of Mathematical Models for the Study of Ritual .” Journal of Ritual Studies 26 ( 2 ): 39 - 64