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Applied research always helps to get the social network theory and method
juices flowing -- whether the application is the Web itself, degrees of
connections to second rate actors, the "Bank Wiring Room," mergers and
acquisitions, innovation in bio-technology, corporate board relations, the
spread of AIDS, terrorist organizations, and yes, even politics when the
latter involves network behavior, as it surely does.

Networks, of course, are always draped on the structures of social
institutions. I fear, however, that Mark Grannovetter's usage of "embedded"
has been taken over by some current applications outside the social network
field.

And to note one of my current concerns, all of this inevitably involves
ethics, as Skye Bender-deMoll correctly noted in a recent posting.


At 02:57 PM 3/24/03 -0600, Matt Bowler wrote:
>*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/  *****
>
>Fellow Socnetters,
>       As scientists should we not focus on the social network issues in
> an independent manner rather than using this Listserv as a forum to
> promote an agenda?  The social network questions are intriguing and
> should be focused upon without propaganda.
>Matt
>
>Wm. Matthew Bowler, Ph.D.
>Assistant Professor
>Department of Management
>317G College of Business Administration
>University of North Texas
>PO Box 305429
>Denton, TX 76203-5429
>PH: 940.565.4487
>FAX: 940.565.4394
>
> >>> Skye Bender-deMoll <[log in to unmask]> 03/24/03 02:46PM >>>
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>
>Friends,
>    Thanks to Carter Butts for the extensive citations.  As a person
>who as been fairly active participant in the San Francisco anti-war
>non-violent direct action campaign (I was arrested on the sidewalk in
>a marching band and illegally detained by the SFPD for 22 hours over
>the weekend), I can say that many of the activists are very aware of
>"networky" ideas, and explicitly use them to construct and coordinate
>their actions in a decentralized, non-hierarchical, consensus fashion.
>
>   One of the main organizing strategies is an "affinity group" model,
>in which 5-20 individuals (usually strong ties) come together to work
>on a small segment of the action with a particular tone and tactic in
>mind.  Many individuals overlap with other groups, and there some
>well defined roles  which are often common across groups
>(communications, media contact, medic, facilitator, spokes-rep, legal
>observer)  The groups generally have a strong commitment to direct
>democracy and consensus process, meaning the entire group must be in
>agreement to take action.  Often groups with a similar tatical aims
>will coordinate to form a "cluster" or send representatives to a
>"spokes council" which works to form consensus on event-wide
>logistics coordination issues.  But because each group is fairly
>autonomous, they are able to respond rapidly to changing conditions
>in a robust fashion with fewer of the vulnerability (and elite/power
>manipulation issues) of a centralized command structure.
>
>In addition, as many people on the list have already pointed out,
>there are interesting aspects in terms of information and media as
>well.  Because most people are in agreement that the major US media
>outlets are acting as a fairly strong filter on international news
>and information, many groups rely on the internet and direct
>long-range communication links with activists groups world wide.
>These are not necessarily weak ties, as many individuals here have
>strong personal relations and work history with individuals in other
>countries.  These strong trust relations make it possible to
>circumvent the "gatekeepers" on media channels, and facilitates
>strong solidarity actions and worldwide organizing.   Which is one
>reason why many prefer to refer to all of this as the "global peace
>and economic justice" movement rather than "anti-globalization" or
>"anti-war" -  there is a great deal of "globalized" coordination
>going on.  But this of course has interesting implications, as it
>means that protesters are often operating on a completely different
>set of "facts" and interpretations of events than those in the
>"mainstream".  This tends to make "out group" communication difficult
>often leads to confusion and misunderstanding when protesters attempt
>to explain their actions and views.
>
>It seems to me that this is an exceptionally rich area for potential
>study, however there are of course strong ethical considerations on
>collecting data on groups and individuals who are at a serious risk
>of being targeted by various law enforcement agencies.
>
>respectfully,
>   -skye
>
> >
> >Ferry Koster wrote:
> >>As far as I have seen, the people that
> >>demonstrated wanted to express their feelings about this war. For a large
> >>part, the only thing organized where the time, the place and some of the
> >>speakers. My point is that it is possible that network theory does not have
> >>a lot to say about this.
> >
> >Even if the protest events are not formally organized, it does not
> >follow that network theory has nothing to say.  (Quite the opposite, in
> >fact -- these are the more interesting cases, at least to a
> >sociologist.)  For a little of the past (formal) work in this area, you
> >might want to see:
>
>--
>--------------------------------
>Skye's fone/Vmail: 650.853.0679
>--------------------------------
>
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