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Interesting question and although I don't have an answer based upon
research, I do have an answer based upon some observations and hunches that
could help you.  Although there seems to have been a decline in popularity
of "traditional" sorts of social/work network/groups -- things like  Moose
lodges, and Lion's clubs, Mason's, etc -- around the time of 1960s -- there
also seems to have been a rise (albeit about a decade later) in "support"
type groups throughout the 70s and 80s - particularly in the area of popular
psychology and "self-improvement."  Just a hunch, but I think you'll find
some sort of relationship there in regard to the emergence of the networking
groups you are examining.
Happy hunting,
Glenn Brown
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>From: Carrie Lane Chet <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: Carrie Lane Chet <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: organized networking events
>Date: Fri, 6 Jun 2003 15:08:31 -0400
>
>*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/  *****
>
>I am a PhD student in Yale’s American Studies Program and am currently
>working on my dissertation, an ethnographic study of unemployment and
>job seeking in the Dallas-area high-technology industry.
>
>I'm hoping the list might be able to help me overcome a research hurdle
>I’ve encountered.
>
>The majority of the job seekers with whom I’ve spoken regularly attend
>organized networking events where they socialize and exchange job leads
>and job search advice with fellow job seekers. I would like to offer a
>brief history of these events in my dissertation— particularly the
>shift from understanding networking as something to be done with one’s
>current social and professional circles to its current incarnation as
>the practice of seeking strangers to “network with” at events organized
>and attended for that purpose. I have had little luck in my search for
>historical or media sources on the origins and evolution of these
>events, even in online archives and museums of business history. I am
>writing in the hope that some of you have come across information of
>this sort in your own work.
>
>Thank you in advance for any assistance you can offer.
>
>Sincerely,
>Carrie Lane Chet
>Doctoral Candidate
>Program in American Studies
>Yale University
>[log in to unmask]
>tel 940.387.4311
>
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