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> Does anyone else find it extremely interesting to see the very
> definition of the maintenance of and challenge to group boundaries acted
> out with such vehemence among a group of esteemed social scientists?
> Here we have among our very own SNA community a cast of characters, old
> and new, sparring over what counts as legitimate discourse and "moral"
> behavior. I wonder if we should map the influence/agreement structure
> over what defines SNA boundaries and behaviors? Do we have an archive of
> "newbie" email strings?
I don't think I posted these paragraphs by Harrison White from
Identity and Control to the whole group. Sorry if I have, but they
are worth looking at:
Social scientitsts today may see challenges to their authority
from ordinary persons, but only with respect to the phenomenology
of everyday life, which most social scientists are willing to
conceed anyway. Yet even this can confound and obfuscate research.
"Networks" are the outstand example today. Ambitious MBAS, upwardly
mobile yuppies, executives, social workers, journalists, all agree
on the importance of networks. Since sources this diverse all urge
the advantage of "networking" as social process the term must
confound many interpretations, and thus it confounds much social
science fieldwork attempting to use network terms and concepts.
But, one may object, these lay persons are mere mechanics, clinicians
rather than professionals; so their joint endeavors surely
cannot be confounding codified scientific results as to more
recondite aspects of social organization. Since the laity are no
status threat surely they cannot be besting scientists! However,
the "laity" includes the jurists, bankers, all sorts of groups and
persons preeminent over social scientists within existing existing
social stratification. And sometimes, perhaps, the preeminence is because
their professions' and professional insights are superior, especially
for the aspects in which they specialize, whether or not a parallel
specialty science, a political science, a sociology, or an economics,
is split off.
(White,Harrison, Identity and Control 1992 - p. 290)
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