How Small Social Systems Work: From Soccer Teams to Jazz Trios and Families

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Most of us are intuitively familiar with small social systems, such as families and soccer teams. Surprisingly, though, most of us are unaware of how complex these systems are or of the fact that they have a unique character distinguishing them from both populations and individuals. The current manuscript, which emerged from high-level scientific publications on the subject, aims to bridge this gap in our understanding of small social systems. The book aims to explain, illustrate, and model the unique and fascinating nature of small (social) systems by relying on deep scientific foundations and by using examples from sport, movies, music, and the martial arts. To support its friendly exposition of challenging scientific ideas, the book also discusses entertaining questions such as (1) why inviting your mother-in-law to dinner might be a challenging event, for reasons you have never considered; (2) why soccer teams should be messy in order to win; (3) why Nazis are deeply wrong in their understanding of the importance of entropy; and (4) why “panda fighters” failed in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSpringer Cham
Number of pages178
ISBN (Electronic)9783030822385
ISBN (Print)9783030822378, 9783030822408
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Publication series

NameFrontiers Collection
VolumePart F900
ISSN (Print)1612-3018
ISSN (Electronic)2197-6619

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Philosophy
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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