We live in a world where war rages between nations, where revolution erupts within nations, where global terrorism is the norm, where new forms of conflict are emerging on the internet, and where class struggle is exacerbated by rising levels of income inequality. The very existence of these ongoing problems suggests that we do not have the highly effective theories needed to deal with them. In seeking to improve our theories, previous scholars have claimed that theories with a higher level of structure would be more effective. However, they did not provide a useful measure of that structure. In the present paper, Propositional Analysis (PA) is presented as an emerging methodology for determining the structure of theories with some level of objectivity. Using PA, this article investigates the change in structure of theories of conflict over a century-long span of time. The outcomes of these analyses suggest the need for new standards for creating theory, integrating theories, and choosing theory for research and/or practice. This study shows that our theories are not evolving toward a higher level of structure. Instead, the level is nearly stable. These results suggest a new understanding as to why the field of conflict theory has not increased in relevance and usefulness. And, as a result, suggests new directions for accelerating the improvement of theories of conflict. While this is a small study, it is expected that these results and insights may be generalized to the broader field of sociology.
As more scholars join the conversation around complexity theory (CT), it seems a useful time to ask ourselves if we are talking about the “same thing?” This concern is highlighted by the present survey, which finds more conflict than agreement between definitions. In contrast to the conflict, a path toward common ground may be found by applying the idea of a “robust” theory. A robust theory is expected to be more effective in application and more reasonably falsifiable. In this paper, Reflexive Dimensional Analysis (RDA) is used to analyze existing definitions of CT. These definitions are deconstructed, redefined as scalar dimensions, combined, and investigated to identify co-causal relationships. The robustness of CT is identified as 0.56 on a scale of zero to one. Paths for advancing the theory are suggested, with important implications for complexity science.