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SOCNET  April 2008

SOCNET April 2008

Subject:

Re: social organization = social networks?

From:

Jeffrey Broadbent <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Jeffrey Broadbent <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 19:22:55 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (390 lines)

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

As Blyden points out, clearly I am as much a link in this chain of
refractive discussion as anyone.  In a rush as always, each respondent
thinks they know what the other person has said and replies on that basis.
But actually, they seize upon a term, in this case social, and give it their
own habitually used meaning.  This gives their response a twist, sending the
discussion off on a new tangent.  The cumulative communication chain
produces a kind of random walk of meaning, perhaps within a certain
parameter (the meaning-limits of "social" if there are any).  The game of
telephone.  

Blyden, may I ask you to succinctly define the two senses in which you were
originally using the term social (if not based in Moreno and Bott)?

Jeff



-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Blyden Potts
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 10:41 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: social organization = social networks?

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

It is an interesting sensation to have be so badly misrepresented regarding
what I wrote. 

My comments did not grow out of Moreno or Bott, and though I did use social
in two different ways, because the convention of "social" as a residual
category does not offer me any convenient alternative term for those kinds
of relations, my primary use of social is not limited to people who know
each other, a point I made explicit. You might want to go back and look at
the thread. 

I won't elaborate here, but I reject the thesis that social categories have
any meaning independent of the social relations which they both represent
and shape. 

Blyden Potts






-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Jeffrey Broadbent
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 10:07 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: social organization = social networks?

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

Emanuela's comment on the need for theoretical clarity versus the use of
operationalized definitions is very crucial here.  We started with Blyden's
idea that all social organization is reducible to social networks, by which
he meant, since his comment grew out of Moreno and Bott, people who know
each other, like friendships.  That is a distinctly social relationship in
the most basic definition.  So, I made the point and others amplified it
that his definition is not adequate because a social category (race, sex) is
an important part of Society too but is not defined by a social network.
But then people started to bring in their own favored usages of the term
social and network, including networks that exist between people and
conceptual categories (two mode).  In that sense, a social category IS a
network and therefore for that example, implies that social organization
does = social networks, backing up Blyden's point.  However this is not
accurate reasoning, because use of this two mode network idea shifts the
definition of the social.  It is no longer the social network in the sense
that people know each other, which was what we had started with and defined
the discussion in terms of.  In this reference, the importance of Emanuela's
comment become clear -- we need theoretical clarity (defining the
ontological qualities referred to by a term) if we want to have a sensible
discussion.  We have to keep the definition steady in the original terms in
order to resolve any controversy set within those reference terms.  This way
of discussing the meta-problem here gets extremely philosophical and into
the constructivist world where the terms we use define our approach to
"reality."  But yet, evidently, it is precisely in such a world that our
talking past each other occurs.          

Jeffrey Broadbent
Abe Fellow
Visiting Researcher, Faculty of Law, Keio University
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
and Institute of Global Studies
909 Social Science Building
University of Minnesota
267  19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota
USA 55455
Tel. 612-624-1828
Fax. 612- 624-7020
Email: [log in to unmask]
Webpage: http://www.soc.umn.edu/faculty/broadbent.html



-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 7:41 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: social organization = social networks?

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

I think Jeffrey Broadbent's observation confirms the need of some
colleagues on this list for theoretical clarity vs. the use of
operationalised definitions.

In response to Loet's comment, I think the substantive discourse is much
broader. For social networks it is not only sociology - but all social
sciences. An example is within media studies - where colleagues talk
about networks of meaning, the use of associations between objects and
the role of associative thinking, that ultimately can be used for
commercial and/or political purposes (as network outcomes). 

I guess, for heterogeneous networks - comprising of social,
technological, environmental or other physical components (for example -
managing water supply systems or energy supply networks) - network
theorising has to bring a lot more disciplines. 

Best wishes
Emanuela Todeva


-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Jeffrey Broadbent
Sent: 16 April 2008 13:20
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: social organization = social networks?

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

Wow, it is amazing how, given a set of brilliant minds, a initially
seemingly simple definitional distinction reverberates or fractalizes
into a bewildering forest of contrasting terminological usages with
respondent taking the discussion into a different conceptual frame of
reference.  

Jeffrey Broadbent
Abe Fellow
Visiting Researcher, Faculty of Law, Keio University Associate
Professor, Department of Sociology and Institute of Global Studies
909 Social Science Building
University of Minnesota
267  19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota
USA 55455
Tel. 612-624-1828
Fax. 612- 624-7020
Email: [log in to unmask]
Webpage: http://www.soc.umn.edu/faculty/broadbent.html



-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Loet Leydesdorff
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 6:58 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: social organization = social networks?

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

Dear Emanuela, 

Yes, one can distinguish between a formal discourse about "network
analysis"
and a substantive discourse about "social networks." The formal
discourse is shared with physicists and others who discuss powerlaw
distributions, etc.
The substantive discourse is to be informed by sociology.

Best wishes, 


Loet 

________________________________

Loet Leydesdorff
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR), Kloveniersburgwal
48, 1012 CX Amsterdam. 
Tel.: +31-20- 525 6598; fax: +31-20- 525 3681 [log in to unmask] ;
http://www.leydesdorff.net/ 

 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 11:59 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Cc: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: RE: social organization = social networks?
> 
> I think the confusion here derives from the fact that people use the 
> concept of 'network' in at least two different ways:
> 
> - as in 'network analysis' - or a tool for representation / analysis /

> mapping of complex systems of interconnected actors (social actors, 
> business actors, technologies... etc.)
> 
> ... and
> 
> - as a real social system of interconnected actors, where the 
> connection could be in the form of 'abstract association' (as in 
> co-location in physical space, or membership status in institutions / 
> firms / business associations), or a full scale of interactions and 
> exchanges, including affections, sharing resources / meaning / mental 
> frames... Etc.
> 
> Actors' attributes and relational attributes are used in both cases - 
> but again the same attributes would mean different things. In the 
> first instance attributes would be 'concepts that are defined to 
> measure', in the second instance they would be 'concepts that are 
> defined to understand and interpret (or frame and label) the 
> complexity of the social system.
> 
> I would discriminate between using concepts from the repertoire of 
> network theorising, and using concepts from the repertoire of network 
> analysis / measurement / mapping.
> 
> Best wishes
> 
> Emanuela Todeva
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
> On Behalf Of Loet Leydesdorff
> Sent: 16 April 2008 10:26
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: social organization = social networks?
> 
> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
> 
> A network, Moses, in my opinion, is only an instantiation of a social 
> system. The network is just nodes + links + attributes which happen to

> be instantiated.
> 
> This is clearest in the case of a network of co-occuring words, like 
> in a semantic map. The semantic map is an instantiation of a 
> repertoire.
> The words used may vary from year to year, while the latent dimensions

> may remain the same.
> 
> Best wishes,
> 
> 
> Loet
>  
> 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Social Networks Discussion Forum
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> > On Behalf Of Moses Boudourides
> > Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 11:03 AM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: social organization = social networks?
> > 
> > *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
> > 
> > Hello,
> > 
> > What Vlado remarks is absolutely right. To say that "social
> network =
> > actors plus relations" is like saying something in the form
> of the old
> 
> > communist formula "socialism = electrification plus soviets" :-) As 
> > both (post-modern) relationalists and (modern) pragmatists
> would say,
> > even the equation "social network = actors plus relations plus 
> > attributes" might be still underdetermined - because "where
> is l'objet
> 
> > petit a?" :-)
> > 
> > Regards,
> > 
> > --Moses
> > 
> > PS. Yes, Loet, a network "implies" construction!
> > 
> > 
> > On Wed, Apr 16, 2008 at 11:32 AM, Vladimir Batagelj 
> > <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > > *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
> > >
> > >  <<<-------- Jeffrey Broadbent-------->>>
> > >
> > > > *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
> > >  >
> > >  > A social category (sex, race) is not reducible to social
> > networks.
> > >  > Therefore, social networks do not constitute the
> > entirety of social
> > >  > organization. This is exactly my critique of Blyden
> > Potts' definitional
> > >  > thesis.
> > >
> > >   It depends on the definition of social network - in most of
> > >   social network analysis software (Pajek, Ucinet, NetMiner, ...)
> > >   properties of vertices (sex, race) are considered as a part of
> > >   the network description. The network can also be weighted,
> > >   multirelational, temporal, defined on several sets, ...
> > >   The notion could be extended also to consider k-nary relations,
> > >   k > 2. There are some examples for k=3 (Lazega's leverage
> > relation).
> > >
> > >   Vlado
> > >  --
> > >  Vladimir Batagelj, University of Ljubljana, FMF,
> > Department of Mathematics
> > >   Jadranska 19, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
> http://vlado.fmf.uni-lj.si
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >  
> > 
> _____________________________________________________________________
> > >  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 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 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 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 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
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
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
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
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

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