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SOCNET  January 2007

SOCNET January 2007

Subject:

Re: list preoccupation.

From:

Ryan Lanham <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Ryan Lanham <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 16 Jan 2007 09:48:19 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (82 lines)

*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

I am inclined to think that SNA has gone beyond academic pursuit or
community of the traditional meaning to a more business-like structure
that must have public relations, a coordinated executive branch (with
back channels), and quasi-legalistic processes seeking legitimacy (INSNA
Founder, etc.)  That is, it needs governance as something like what two
people called "an industry."  Once it has governance, it will need
"rights."   

Part of my emerging theory of innovation versus identity is that this is
a key cusp in the formation of an idea "space".  This is a form of SNA
dynamics.  

Enterprises are something like what people here call networks.  They
draw borders around identity.  They coin and rally around neologisms and
industry mavens.  They claim legitimacy in relationship to founding
events and numbers of engagements.  In short, they do all the things one
would not expect from most scientific undertakings.  

Can one imagine in a science rebuking someone for expounding ideas
excessively?  Stop doing physics, pal, you're obsessed!  That would be
queer indeed.  Anyone who disagreed with expounded ideas would quickly
apply filters.  I follow several scientific listservs and this is their
method repeatedly.  Reputations matter, but ideas matter far more.  In
what I term quasi-sciences, e.g. medical research, the responses are far
more like here.  Legitimacy is everything and rule breaking in the form
of industry criticism is a serious infraction.  

In at least 3 backchannels (which I hate to refer to because they can
have no legitimacy at all) people have mentioned "string theory."  This
is a crisis in physics departments now because it is one of the only
viable career path for large-scale (or small scale) theorists of note.
But very few people actually believe it is real apparently.  Curious.  

Anyone can easily filter email these days.  Setting up a rule to exclude
one or a group of people is trivial--less than 30 seconds work.  But
that is of course not the issue.  The issue is identity.  And that is
fine.  I am glad people have a stake in SNA and I am glad they have a
stake in anti-depressants.  Both are identity networks, but no longer
conventional intellectual pursuits.  What is regrettable from my humble
dissertation-writing grad-student (or even more pitifully mid-career
grad student) perspective is that people attempt to maintain the
legitimacy of the academy around themselves while they engage in
industry.  But academies are changing.  Application and pragmatism are
of higher standing than they once were.  Thus, old ethics will need
innovation.  That will be difficult.

My last post here (unsub)...best wishes to everyone for productively
finding their sorts of networks and the associated legitimacy.  See you
in the footnotes, I hope.

Ryan Lanham         


> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
> 
> For too long this list has seen 3 or 4 people talking only to each
other.
> Perhaps they ought to take their conversation off list, as it seems to
be
> a conversation only among them.
> 
> I, for one, am tired of being lectured by Ryan Lanham, and advise him
to
> concentrate on writing his doctoral dissertation first.
> 
>  Barry Wellman, INSNA Founder
>  _____________________________________________________________________
> 
>   Barry Wellman   S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology   NetLab Director
>   Centre for Urban & Community Studies          University of Toronto
>   455 Spadina Avenue    Toronto Canada M5S 2G8    fax:+1-416-978-7162
>   wellman at chass.utoronto.ca  http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman
>         for fun: http://chass.utoronto.ca/oldnew/cybertimes.php
>  _____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
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