#TDOD (The Dynamics Of Dominance, May 27, 2017):

Do chimpanzees play politics? Why do we act spitefully or ‘altruistically’? Is one human being equal to another? Is power without hegemony possible? Is there always an established social order? Is competition for resources scrambles or contests? Is nature a good guide to explain human behaviour? Is culture a result of adaptation? Are orders of dominance always subject to change? When are leaders and subordinates coupled? Does equilibrium selection depend upon whether a game is sequential or simultaneous? Why is it difficult to give a non-patterned response to the leader? Are there compensations for being subordinated? Do subjects contribute to their domination? Are some equilibrium stable even if the initial conditions (e.g. scarcity) change? Does strategy mutate? Are dominance systems (from egalitarian to despotic) species-specific? How does bloody or bloodless rebellion occur? What makes threats credible? Is it rational to be selectively irrational? Can social systems change suddenly? Is hierarchy overturned without creating a new one? Is it possible for one person to control the whole world? Would there always be the powerful and the powerless? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from sociology (Prof. Satish Deshpande, University of Delhi, New Delhi), game theory (Dr. Ankur A. Kulkarni, IIT Bombay, Mumbai), & biopsychology (Prof. Mewa Singh, University of Mysore, Mysore).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TDOD show.

Prof. Satish Deshpande (sociology) is currently Professor at the Department of Sociology at University of Delhi (DU), New Delhi. He has also been a Senior Fellow (Professor) at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi (2004-2005), an Associate Professor at the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), New Delhi (1996-2004), & Assistant Professor at University of Hyderabad (1991-1996). Prof. Deshpande has also held visiting positions at Ecole des Haute Etudes en Sciences Sociale (Paris), University of Chicago, & at University of California at San Francisco. His areas of interest include caste and class inequalities, the theory and practice of social justice, the history and politics of the social sciences, South-South intellectual interactions, higher education and issues in social science teaching, especially in Indian languages. Prof. Deshpande did his B.A. in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi, & M.A. in Economics from JNU. He then went to complete his  M.A. & Ph. D. in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), USA. His most recent books are the edited volumes ‘Beyond Inclusion: The Practice of Equal Access in Indian Higher Education’ (Routledge, 2013), and ‘The Problem of Caste’ (Orient Blackswan, 2014).  He is on the editorial advisory board of ‘Pratiman: Samay, Samaj, Sanskriti’, and ‘South African Review of Sociology’, & he is an Associate Editor at ’International Sociology’. He is the recipient of the 2012 Malcolm Adisheshaiah Award for distinguished contributions to development studies. He also has been awarded the Senior Research Fellowship for two years (2010-2012) by ICSSR & multiple fellowships at UCSC (1985-1990).

Dr. Ankur A. Kulkarni (game theory) is an Assistant Professor (since 2013) at the Systems & Control Engineering Department, IIT Bombay (IITB), Mumbai. He received his B.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering from IITB (2006), & M.S. in General Engineering (2008) and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering (2010) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), USA. From 2010-2012 he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Coordinated Science Laboratory at UIUC. His broad research interest is in interactive stochastic systems with multiple decision makers (either competitive or cooperative). His research is more specifically focused on the role of information in stochastic control, game theory and information theory. Dr. Kulkarni has published in multiple journals such as: IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Discrete Mathematics, & Automatica. He is an Associate (2015-2018) of the Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS), & a recipient of the INSPIRE Faculty Award of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India (2013). He also received the best paper award at the National Conference on Communications (2017) and the William A. Chittenden Award (2008) at UIUC. Dr. Kulkarni has also delivered invited talks at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, Pennsylvania State University in the USA, University of Edinburgh in the UK, IMPA at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, IIT Kanpur, TIFR Mumbai and IISc Bangalore. He is also a consultant to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on some matters related to High Frequency Trading (HFT) and co-location in the Indian securities markets.

Prof. Mewa Singh (biopsychology, ecology) is the Life-long Distinguished Professor at Department of Psychology and Institute of Excellence, University of Mysore, Mysore. He also holds the J.C. Bose Fellowship of the Government of India. Prof. Singh did his Master’s degree at Panjab University, Chandigarh, & completed his Ph.D. from University of Mysore. He went on to do his Post Doctoral training in Wildlife Management at Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA. He has been a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Bucknell University (Pennsylvania, USA), a teaching assistant at the Smithsonian Institution (Washington DC, USA), a Visiting Fellow at the Zoological Society of San Diego (USA), & a Visiting Fellow at the German Primate Center (Gottingen) and the Cologne Zoo in Germany. Prof. Singh has also been a Summer Professor in Germany, visiting Lecturer in Malaysia and a visiting Professor at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.  His research on ecology and behavior of wild mammals, especially of non-human primates, is field based. He has worked in the forests of Himalayas, Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, and Nicobar Islands. He has published more than 170 research papers in reputed Journals in India and other parts of the world, and his edited book titled ‘Macaque Societies: A Model for the study of Social Organization’ is published by Cambridge University, England. He is an elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS), Indian National Science Academy (INSA), The National Academy of Sciences India (NASI), Allahabad, and The National Academy Of Psychology (NAOP), India. He also received the prestigious Ramanna Fellowship by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, on two occasions.

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TDOD mentionsBhartrihari, Friedrich Nietzsche, Antoine Augustin Cournot, H. G. Landau, Michel Foucault, Frans de Waal, & Shahrukh Khan, among others.