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I'm beginning my dissertation research this year, and I'm looking for some
insight on what's come before me. I'm getting quite familiar with the ideas
of network analysis, both technically and substantively. Yet I'm a little
fuzzy on the role of agency and process in networks. There doesn't seem to
be as much there as I would have hoped. And as such, I've decided to focus
on "networking". Maybe I'll be the guy to take the quotes off of that word
and make it a legitimate term.
I'm interested in how people manage their contacts, spatially, temporally,
and as a set. In a large scale survey and interview, I'm going to look at
how people use addressbooks, PDAs, post-its etc... to maintain contact
addresses, how they manage their time (do they plan? do they have more
routine or irregular demands? ) and what sorts of interactions
(instrumental vs. expressive) they have with members of their network.
Essentially, my hypothesis is that a strong time personality ('planner') is
related to stronger ties (and more of them), whereas high contact
management skills is related to a lot of weaker ties. Having someone's
contact info is not a sure sign that you can call someone. Yet it is the
necessary pre-condition for contact, and it is also a good way to recall
that someone is in your network and is accessible.
I won't mire you with the sub-hypotheses (just yet).
If this sounds even remotely like a hypothesis you've read about, or wrote
about, please write me with some information. I would really appreciate it.
[between now and dissertation, I'll probably use those resources to create
an agency and networks bibliography to share with the list]
NetLab, Knowledge Media Design Institute
Department of Sociology
University of Toronto
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