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I recently posted a short series of questions to the group asking which field developed SNA, what was SNA originally developed for, and what the first scholarly article using SNA was. I thought I'd post the responses:
1. SNA was originally developed in which field?
a) The psychology field(sociometry)
b) It appears that SNA arose from anthropological work regarding kinship
originally. (I believe Alvin Wolfe, a member of this list has written a number of articles on this particular point).
c) SNA was originally developed in the anthropological field
d) Anthropology field
e) Anthropology/ Child Development
f) SNA was born in anthropology, in the form of sociograms, but didn't become a mathematical mode of analysis until its adoption by sociology. SNA does owe a certain debt to graph theory in mathematics, but is distinct from it.
2. SNA was originally developed to study what?
a) relationships in groups
b) I think (and I could be wrong) that the sociologist, Moreno may have
been the one to coin the term and really began to formalize sociograms for
relations outside of kinship.
c) SNA was originally developed to explore social and cultural structures
d) To discover friendship cliques
e) Understand how social structure influenced individual and group outcomes
f) SNA was originally developed to provide graphical and mathematical representations of social structure, enabling social scientists to get away from abstractions like "the group."
3. The first scholarly article published using SNA was?
a) Moreno first published a scholarly article in the 1920's?
b) John Scott, in "Social Network Analysis, A Handbook", 1991 published by SAGE, attributes three groups with this: including "...sociometric
analysts...using graph theory; the Harvard researchers of the 1930s,who explored patterns of interpersonal relations and the formation of 'cliques'; and the Manchester anthropologists, who built on both of these strands to investigate the structure of 'community' relations in tribal and village societies." P.7
c) The first scholarly article published using SNA was by Barnes (1954) (maybe that year)
d) The guy doing the Garden club studies?
e) Moreno, Sociometry, 1934 (?)
f) "A Mathematical Model for Group Structure" Alex Bavelas, Human Organization, 7. 1948.
In addition, a number of people referred me to Lin Freeman, who had this to say: I've just about finished a book on the history of SNA. It'll be out in the summer. Meanwhile, I'd suggest that your questions are overly simplistic--that is, they have no direct simple answers.
Given the spread in answers, maybe Lin is correct!
Many thanks to all those who responded.
Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Technology
University of Montana
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