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SOCNET  January 2007

SOCNET January 2007

Subject:

Re: qual network analysis

From:

Ryan Lanham <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Ryan Lanham <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 13 Jan 2007 14:47:17 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (180 lines)

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

Don,

There are good reasons for people not to bless Wiki articles, but, in
general, I find them to be legitimate.  That is why I try to fix the ones I
dislike, but alas, democracy doesn't work in knowledge management too well.


Discipline entails collective identity and identity entails dogma or, at
least rules, and a cultural orientation to accept rules and rulemakers.
That is, discipline requires teacher and disciple.  It is a system that has
worked well for many thousands of years and is only now seriously eroding.
Wiki is a strange tool in that erosion.  

Valdis' market summary of SNA books got me thinking...why focus on "SNA"?
Is the center of any network defined in the grouping we start from? (My
hypothesis is yes...it is) What if one studied Complex adaptive systems?
How centered would the first SNA book be?  Not very, I suspect.  But one
would have to be carping indeed to say that SNA and CAS are not quite close
and interrelated at a number of levels.

I am trying not to fall into a banal discussion of social construction--or
even mess--though, I agree with you and love John Law's book on mess in the
social sciences.  What makes it banal for me is the immediate frustration it
seems to engender in disciplinarians.  I am always frustrated when Foucault
gets pulled out in social science discussions because I sense the tempers
are about to break.  Having some talent for breaking tempers, I do try to
avoid it when I am at my best.

What I have spent my time trying to figure out is whether we even be
pragmatic--useful.  Useful is like knowledge...it is perspective-based.
Someone was asking about networks and Africa...that is the problem of
development.  Whose development?  How?  Do people in Mozambique wish they
were in Cupertino?  Would they if they knew all the facts?  Hard to say.
One thing is certain, there aren't many cultures that emulate other cultures
in great detail.  We don't want Ballywood, and they seem indifferent to
Hollywood.  And yet an Aishwarya Rai transcends.  Why?  When?  What breaks
the borders and boundaries between SNA and CAS?  And is this even the same
sort of network problem?

Ryan Lanham    

  

-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Don Steiny
Sent: Saturday, January 13, 2007 2:19 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: qual network analysis

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

Ryan,

	You have an interesting research project in the history of ideas in
front of you.  I caution you that the wiki entry on Social Network
Analysis is not one that I would recommend.  Part of what you might add
to your research project is the answer to the question "so what?"  Is
there any reason they should have anything in common?  Another question
is: why did cybernetics (and general systems theory and functionalism
and ...) pretty much fade away?  I think you will find that your search
is about metaphysics and that the social world is messier that you would
wish.

-Don

> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
> 
> Barry Wellman's note to Yang stated the following:
> 
> ...the most important thing to remember is that SNA is
> a perspective -- dare I say a paradigm -- rather than a set of methods,
> quant or qual.
> 
> 
> But the discussion of SNA as paradigm opened by Don Steiny and now
> elaborated by Professor Wellman reminds me of a small collection of (at
> least to me) similar or sometimes overlapping worldviews now underway that
> inhabit related social spaces.  I will try to use only those with existing
> articles in Wiki as a basis of the set so that people can easily explore
if
> they wish.  I have been collecting this set and trying to sort out
> differences and similarities of discipline and category.  It is a
confusing
> and interesting hobby.
> 
> 1. Social network analysis
> 
> 2. Complex adaptive systems
> 
> 3. Industrial ecology
> 
> 4. Communities of practice
>  
> 5. Organizational learning
> 
> 6. Activity theory   
> 
> 7. Actor-network theory
> 
> 8. Communication theory
> 
> 9. Graph theory
> 
> 10. Group theory
> 
> 11. Biotic communities
> 
> 12. Food webs
> 
> 13. Community ecology
> 
> 14. Ecosystems ecology
> 
> 15. Systems ecology
> 
> 16. Energetics
> 
> 17. Cybernetics
> 
> 18. Sociocybernetics
> 
> 19. Semiotics
> 
> 20. Network theory
> 
> 21. Bounded rationality
> 
> Each has experts, theories, often journals and other trappings of
> "discipline."  One could probably label a dissertation at a top university
> with any 5 sub-elements of this group and "make sense" of it--indeed, even
> achieve acclaim.
> 
> Questions I sometimes ponder:
> 
> 1. What is this a set of?
> 
> 2. What are the elements and how do they differ conceptually?  
> 
> 3. Could one rank order the "rigor" of these 21 or of the many missing
> elements?
> 
> 4. How do these elements change over time, interact, merge, diverge, and
> govern themselves?
> 
> 5. Is the set infinite?  Why or why not?
> 
> 6. Is science a mansion of many houses or is there inherently many
sciences?
> 
> 
> 7. How does an idea of importance within one element get noticed in the
> others?  Why?
> 
> 8. What causes the death of an element?  
> 
> 9. What is happening when a graduate student or research ropes together a
> new subset of the elements?  
>   
> 
> _____________________________________________________________________
> SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
> network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
> an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
> UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.
> 

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