"My findings [from a study on farm size and friend choice amongst rice producers in China] challenge common assumptions about friend choice by demonstrating that the salience of the mechanisms governing who we befriend can be highly context dependent."
- Dr Cohen Simpson discusses the main themes of his research as part of our 30th Anniversary celebrations. Read the full close-up with Methodology faculty.
Cohen is a Fellow in Quantitative Research Methods in the Department of Methodology and an Associate Member of Nuffield College, Oxford. In 2016, he also received his PhD in Social Research Methods from the Department of Methodology. Before returning to the LSE, he was a Research Fellow and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute and a Non-Stipendary Research Fellow at Nuffield College. He has also held postdoctoral roles in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford and the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge.
Research Interests: Sitting primarily within the traditions of analytical and mathematical sociology, Cohen's research focus is network formation — i.e., where do networks come from? And he is especially interested in the emergence of social networks that span small-scale traditional human populations — i.e. microcosms wherein supportive relationships (e.g., friendship, advice, financial aid, food provision, and physical assistance) facilitate day-to-day survival by offsetting the challenges of poverty, subsistence-based living, and limited access to protective institutions (e.g. state welfare).
Cohen also has a deep interest in evolutionary and sociological theories of human sociality (e.g., kin selection theory; structural balance theory), genetic kinship, and ecological arguments around how variation in individuals’ social and physical environments shape their (relational) behaviour. When appropriate, he makes a special effort to draw on zoological research on the social networks of non-human animals. And he is generally interested in interdisciplinary applications of network analysis and mixing social and evolutionary science.