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I apologize if this is a hopelessly vague question. I am having a rather
hard time articulating it, and know that I have tried to do so with some
of you unsuccessfully in the past.
I am exploring the utility of the concept of clustering coefficients in
analyzing the social connections of an ancient Egyptian village. But the
connections I am working with are ones I have derived by running an
affiliations function on a two-mode network, thus turning indirect
connections (person->legal document->second person) into direct ones.
I would like to use the (exceptionally high) clustering coefficient of
this derived one-mode network to tell me something about the extent to
which this village was ordered at the group level, by guild, by
peer-group, etc. But it starts to occur to me that I cannot escape the
distorting lense of the (now removed) texts linking person 1 to person 2.
In other words, isn't the clustering coefficient in this case nothing but
a measure of how much the names in each text overlap? So, in that sense,
it tells us nothing about the society's structure itself, and everything
about the clustering of the evidence for it.
Am I understanding this correctly? Should I despair? Or is the clustering
coefficient still an interesting number, even in light of this distorting
problem? If so, how?
I have looked at Watts _JAS_ 1999 fruitfully, although I am alarmed at
the prospect of calling my Egyptians connected cavemen! :) What I think I
need next is a way to be sure I'm understanding what I've read, and can
put it in appropriately concrete (social, textual, methodological) terms.
Thanks for your thoughts!
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