|A Buchanan-Gladwell model (2001) of social physics, defined by concepts including: social heat, tipping points, activation energy, connectors, six degrees, Dunbar numbers, etc.; the above diagram showing how the rubbing of Bosnia with Austria-Hungray created "social friction" which on 28 Jun 1914 produced enough heat (or social heat) to "spark" the flame or social combustion of the first world war. |
In 1858, Henry Carey seems to have been the first to explicitly introduce a model of social friction; the gist of which being summarized by Werner Stark (1962) was follows: 
“In the physical universe, heat is engendered by friction. Consequently the case must be the same in the social world. The ‘particles’ must rub together here, as they do there. The rubbing of the human molecules, which produces warmth, light and forward movement, is the interchange of goods, services, and ideas.”In the 2000s, ideas on social activation energy began to appear, e.g. Mark Buchanan (2000), Malcolm Gladwell (2001), etc., which allude to Carey-like models of social friction, albeit without stating so directly. Buchanan, e.g., asserts that the “forces” behind the nineteen-year-old Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Serbian terrorist organization Black Hand, acting or “working” to pull the trigger of a gun, on 28 Jun 1914, pointed at Austro-Hungarian archduke Franz Ferdinand, thereby “tipping” (see: tipping point) history into WWI and then WII, to the premise that small but significant social heat like triggers work or act as social activation energy barrier surmounters, i.e. the embodiment of the process when the heat of friction (or social friction), of striking a match works, triggers the activation energy barrier to combustion thus lighting the match into flame.
1. (a) Carey, Henry C. (1858-59). The Principles of Social Science (Vol I, Vol II, Vol III) (pg. #). J.B. Lippincott & Co.
(b) Stark, Werner. (1962). The Fundamental Forms of Social Thought. (Carey, 143-59; human molecules, pgs. 87-90, 126, 146 (quote), 243, 25). Routledge.
2. (a) Buchanan, Mark. (2000). Ubiquity: Why Catastrophes Happen (pg. 3). Three Rivers Press.
(b) Gladwell, Malcolm. (2000). The Tipping Point: How Little Things can make a Big Difference. Little, Brown, and Co, 2006.