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SOCNET  December 2017

SOCNET December 2017

Subject:

Re: History and origins of diffusion processes

From:

martina morris <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

martina morris <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 4 Dec 2017 12:56:24 -0800

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TEXT/Plain (251 lines) , image001.jpg (251 lines)

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

Thanks for sharing this info Thomas -- it's very interesting.

> 'Pre-paradigmatic' seems like an apt term insofar as the dominant 
> paradigm today wrt diffusion processes assumes s-shaped, scalable, 
> exponential curves embedded in models of proportionate growth.

Those of us who work on network structured diffusion have a more general 
paradigm.  Much of this work has emerged in the context of network 
modeling of epidemics, so doesn't make it into the Network journals.

> question. A good example is Lynn White's 1966 book Medieval Technology 
> and Social Change, which traces the development of medieval warfare to 
> innovations in horse saddlery, specifically, the introduction of the 
> foot stirrup around the 6th CE. However, her description of the 
> process(es) associated with the 'spreading' and adoption of saddle 
> stirrups is considerably lumpier than any smooth, s-shaped curve would 
> suggest.

And indeed, a network structured by clustering (for whatever reason) would 
produce just this pattern.


> On Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 2:05 PM, Thomas William Valente <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>       ***** To join INSNA, visit https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.insna.org&d=DwIDaQ&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=uXI5O6HThk1ULkPyaT6h2Ws3RKNKSY__GQ4DuS9UHhs&m=qBebR8TzUx1GyN7zOU3ch4UcXjM8UCRzCIzQQRHSfFw&s=mwnz0lFVeyS-Izj5ihjv6rAqVBneEk-uaOk6wivszOI&e=  *****
>
>       We classified those studies as pre-paradigmatic, quite a few studies on the diffusion of
>       arrowheads and other archeologic evidence. The paradigm, however, coalesced with the Ryan &
>       Gross publication which strongly influenced the Rural Sociology tradition.
>
> 
>
>       From: George Barnett [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>       Sent: Monday, December 04, 2017 10:03 AM
>       To: Thomas William Valente
>       Cc: [log in to unmask]
>       Subject: Re: [SOCNET] History and origins of diffusion processes
>
> 
>
>       Tom & Thomas,
>
>          It actually goes back a whole lot further to the work of Galton (cultural trait
>       diffusion), and then  Pemberton (the diffusion of postage stamps) and Stuart Chapin. I
>       haven't looked at the early research in 40+ years, but there was lots of research which
>       preceded Ryan and Gross.
>
> 
>
>       George 
>
> 
>
>        George A. Barnett, Ph.D.
>
>       Distinguished Professor Emeritus
>
>       Department of Communication
>
>       393 Kerr Hall
>
>       University of California – Davis
>
>       Davis, CA 95616-8695 
>
> 
>
>       [log in to unmask]
>
> 
>
> 
>
>       On Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 9:00 AM, Thomas William Valente <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>       ***** To join INSNA, visit https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.insna.org&d=DwIDaQ&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=uXI5O6HThk1ULkPyaT6h2Ws3RKNKSY__GQ4DuS9UHhs&m=qBebR8TzUx1GyN7zOU3ch4UcXjM8UCRzCIzQQRHSfFw&s=mwnz0lFVeyS-Izj5ihjv6rAqVBneEk-uaOk6wivszOI&e=  *****
>
>       Thomas
>
>       Although this isn’t quite what you are looking for, in the 1990-1991 time frame I interview
>       (along with Everett Rogers) a number of early pioneers of diffusion of innovations research.
>       We published our findings in this paper:
>
> 
>
>       Valente, T. W., & Rogers, E. M. (1995). The origins and development of the diffusion of
>       innovations paradigm as an example of scientific growth. Science Communication: An
>       Interdisciplinary Social Science Journal. 16, 238-269.
>
> 
>
>       The abstract reads:
>
>       This article traces the emergence of the basic paradigm for early diffusion research created
>       by two rural sociologists at Iowa State University, Bryce Ryan and Neal C. Gross. The
>       diffusion paradigm spread to an invisible college of midwestern rural sociological
>       researchers in the 1950s and 1960s, and then to a larger, interdisciplinary field of
>       diffusion scholars. By the late 1960s, rural sociologists lost interest in diffusion studies,
>       not because it was ineffective scientifically, but because of lack of support for such study
>       as a consequence of farm overproduction and because most of the interesting research
>       questions were thought to be answered.
>
> 
>
>       -Tom
>
> 
>
>       Thomas W. Valente, PhD
>
>       Professor and Interim Chair
>
>       Department of Preventive Medicine
>
>       Keck School of Medicine
>
>       University of Southern California
>
>       Soto Street Building, Suite 330
>
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>
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>
>       Email: [log in to unmask]
>
> 
>
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>
>       If one looks up the word 'diffusion' in the Dictionary of the History of Science, you get the
>       standard explanation that 'diffusion' originated in the 19th c with Graham and Maxwell and
>       has a Latin etymology in the word, diffundere, which means "to spread out." There has to be
>       more to the story than this, right? 
>
> 
>
>       Earlier references might include the  "diffusion of refracted light" in Robert Greene (1727)
>       and "diffusion of light" in Newton's Optical Lectures (1728).
>
> 
>
>       My question for these listservs is, does anyone have any additional insight into the history
>       and origins of the abstract idea of 'diffusion?'
>
> 
>
>       Thank you,
>
>       Thomas Ball
>
> 
>
> 
>
> 
>
>       Thomas W. Valente, PhD
>
>       Professor and Interim Chair
>
>       Department of Preventive Medicine
>
>       Keck School of Medicine
>
>       University of Southern California
>
>       Soto Street Building, Suite 330
>
>       2001 N Soto Street, MC 9239
>
>       Los Angeles CA  90089-9239
>
>       Email: [log in to unmask]
>
> 
>
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  Professor of So