Keywords: micro-macro link, social simulation, agent-based models, emergence, social mechanisms.
This paper aims to look at the problem of the micro-macro link in sociology from the new prospective of social simulation. The adoption of a sociology modelling perspective allows us to sidestep typical domain problems (e.g. individualism vs. holism, action vs. structure, micro vs. macro sociology), for a more pragmatic approach. The first section summarises (due to shortage of space, not exhaustively) the present debate in sociology. The second briefly introduces social simulation as a field of research. The third section presents the analytical constructions that computational social scientists use in dealing with the micro-macro link. The fourth section introduces some clear examples of agent-based models of social outcomes, without entering into technicalities. These examples allow us to pin down some particular mechanisms that can help to map the micro-macro link. The last section summarises our findings and looks forward to questions and challenges that should be explored in the near future.