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Association of American Geographers Meeting 2013 (Los Angeles, April 9-13)
Call for Participation
Using network analysis to capture spatial structures and dynamics
Organizers: Celine Rozenblat (Universite de Lausanne)
Zachary Neal (Michigan State Univesity)
Session supported by the European Research group S4: Spatial
Simulations for Social Sciences ? SPANGEO group
Network analysis has traditionally been used in sociology to capture
and explain social phenomena including group formation, influence, and
the diffusion of innovation. At the same time, there is a long history
in geography of using network analysis to explore spatial phenomena
including trade and transportation (e.g. Christaller, Ullman).
Recently, these two traditions have intersected, using network
analysis to understand how social and spatial structures interact at
different scales (see Social Networks 34:1 (2012): ?Capturing context:
Integrating spatial and social network analyses?; The Connected City:
How Networks are Shaping the Modern Metropolis (Routledge, 2013)). In
these recent works, we learn that virtual social networks like twitter
and offline social networks still have strong spatial constraints, and
that transforming space remains a main factor in the evolution of
The spatially-embedded networks are shaped by spatial processes at
multiple scales that make some networks stronger and more significant,
while rendering others obsolete. Although this work typically focuses
on how spatial structures shape networks, one can also explore how the
transformation of social, economic, cultural networks affects spatial
structures and dynamics, including:
- local processes like attractiveness, concentration or repulsion;
- more global processes like distance, barriers,
competitiveness, or hierarchical distributions of places.
Studies usually capture only some aspects of these networks,
simplifying them through the aggregation of networks and the
collapsing of spatial scales. This procedure hides many properties of
the social networks and spatial scales that disappear in this
aggregation. One needs new approaches capable of handling multi-scalar
spaces and multi-modal networks, offering a more comprehensive
understanding of the interactions between social networks and space.
The session seeks to share new theories and methodologies in network
analysis, in particular relating to spatial dynamic systems. All
approaches based on empirical studies, simulations, as well as
theoretical reflections are welcome.
The objectives of the session are:
(1) To investigate the multi-modal approach of networks in order to
take into account both the strategies developed in the micro-network
and the meso/macro transformations they imply for space;
(2) To articulate different spatial scales through these networks
underlying the relevance of such approaches;
(3) To explore the relevance of network dynamics theories, like the
effects of ?scale free? or ?small world? structures on spatial
=== Joining the session ===
Interested participants should:
(1) send an abstract of max 250 words to the organizers: Celine
Rozenblat and Zachary Neal ([log in to unmask], [log in to unmask]).
We will agree to incorporate it in the session.
(2) register first for the conference and then submit their abstract
in the regular way (through the AAG website:
(3) send the registration code (PIN) they receive to the Session
organizers, [log in to unmask], [log in to unmask] no later than
22th October 2012. Please note that the PIN is activated only after
Authors have paid the conference fee AND have submitted the abstract.
We will then mention all registration codes that will be in our session.
Zachary Neal, Assistant Professor
Michigan State University
Department of Sociology & Global Urban Studies Program
316 Berkey Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824
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