***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/ ***** Dear All, I am thinking about the possibilities for linking network studies to social mobility in an operationalisable way. At one extreme, there are "regression quantitative" approaches that just look at head counts of associates and "wash out" what may be important dynamic/cohort effects of changing network size and nature. At the other extreme are "narrative qualitative" approaches in which the role of networks must be recalled, sometimes many years after the fact. The fundamental difficulties seem to be: 1) Getting of jobs and getting promoted (the stuff of "mainstream" social mobility) are rather rare events. 2) Given the odium attached to "favouritism", it may be very hard to access data about informal mechanisms by survey or even interview but "being there" (ie fieldwork) is hard to reconcile with 1. 3) There may be considerable ethical/sensitivity issues in assessing networks that may lead to accusations of "unfair advantage" in organisations. These push back towards anonymised data but to my knowledge there are very few surveys which would provide adequate data about nominated others to support this kind of quantitative analysis. My current thinking is to "extend" the notion of labour market advantage to more frequent events as contract renewal, bonus payments and so on, on the (perhaps rather weak) argument that similar network mechanisms may operate "in the large" (ie with promotion). This might make it feasible for extended fieldwork to capture the network situation and enough "instances" but problems of sensitivity and access remain. Any encouragement, criticisms, references? Would the more quals and quants ends of the SN spectrum think it was possible to tackle this by quals or quants alone? I know some of the classics like "Getting a Job" and the interlocking directorates research, but I think the extended dynamic nature of social mobility (more like "Getting One Job After Another") is rather different from these existing areas. ATB, Edmund Chattoe -- ======================================================================== Edmund Chattoe: Department of Sociology, University of Oxford, Littlegate House, St Ebbes, Oxford, OX1 1PT, tel: 01865-286174, fax: 01865-286171, http://www.sociology.ox.ac.uk Review Editor, J. Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (JASSS) http://www.soc.surrey.ac.uk/JASSS/ "So act as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in another, always as an end, and never as only a means." (Immanuel Kant, Fundamental Principles) ======================================================================== _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.