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I've just reread the fascinating exchange in Connections 25, 2 about
translations of "The International Network for Social Network Analysis"
into other languages. There was some discussion of what the name means.
As the guy who thought up the name all by myself, I can shed some light on
this. (Although I never thought that I would be deconstructing it 25+
Everybody seems happy with "The International" so I move quickly by.
The first "Network" is very deliberate. I wanted to (a) pun on the second
"Network" (indeed one name I thought of first was "The Network Network")
and (b) to emphasize our combination of casualness and non-hierarchical
structure. Indeed, I called the leader of INSNA "Coordinator", a name that
stuck until one of my successors decided that "President" was more seemly.
(I really wanted to call it "Chief Node", or "High Betweeness", but
thought that these were a little too cute.)
Someone in the colloquoy worries about "for" and gets it understandably
wrong, as "for" can mean many things. In the colloquoy, "for" is seen as
meaning a Tool. But the meanings I had in mind were more on the line of
people who are doing and/or promoting social network analysis. There is a
similar construction in "Science for Peace."
Finally, there is a discussion of whether "Social Network" is singular or
plural in "Social Network Analysis". Definitely plural, but using "Social
Network" as an adjective, which we can do in English,means that the plural
is implicit. I could have used the more cumbersome "Analysis of Social
Networks" which would have been both clear and clunky.
And even though no one asked me, let's talk about our informal journal:
"Connections". I wavered between that and "Ties and Bonds" (suggested as I
remember by Peter & Trudy Johnson-Lenz and Roxanne Hiltz). But I fear that
T&B wouldn't fly with officious academic types and too many of us were
bucking for tenure. "Connections" does at least double-duty. It describes
what we are studying, and the journal serves to connect us with all of its
gossip, abstracts, conference notes, book summaries, and informal
You'll have to ask Lin Freeman about how "Social Networks" got its name
and subtitle, and someone else (Steve Borgatti?) about "Socnet".
Barry Wellman Professor of Sociology NetLab Director
wellman at chass.utoronto.ca http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman
Centre for Urban & Community Studies University of Toronto
455 Spadina Avenue Toronto Canada M5S 2G8 fax:+1-416-978-7162
To network is to live; to live is to network
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