David,

My apologies to any gasp-inducing statements about who are White's students.  Of course, I don't mean to imply that such a group is itself homogenous or necessarily charged with being the purveyor of White's theories.  I gathered what you said about stories and disciplines, and their relation to bringing culture and phenomenology in.  I liked the book for those reasons.  I just haven't been exposed to what has been done that departs form those concerns.

I came across the book while lost in my PhD (pre-thesis) studies and trying to find an overview of a network approach.  So, that experience may be substantively different than people more centrally involved in developing network approaches. 

The growth of people on SOCNET is a testament to the success of the core ideas of White and many others.

I liked your comment because it is reminiscent of the kinds of interactions we would have if we were all actually together. 

Newbie walks up:  Do you know this book by Harrison White?

Granovetter, Brieger, Wellman, et al : [Gasping] Uh, yes.  In fact, he advised all of our PhDs or co-authored articles with us.  And, who [ahem] are you?

Newbie: No one [Running for exit].

Best,
Jordi


At 03:34 PM 9/29/2003 -0400, David Gibson wrote:
Jordi,

An observation about disciplines: I take one objective of I&C to theorize the bases of network stability, and thereby to problematize action/agency. Talk of disciplines moves us beyond "flat" network representations -- where if you add more people or more ties you just have more nodes and lines, like a plate of spaghetti in Flatland -- towards a more three-dimensional conception wherein network stability may rest upon valuational systems that sociograms can't directly get at (e.g., perceptions of value in the market), and in which networks otherwise fold back in on themselves to ensure their own continuation. (A warning about HCW exegesis: the more you try to explain his ideas the more you sound like him.)

Regarding stories: This is HCW's attempt to reinfuse culture into networks, having found that graph representations too easily lead us away from the phenomenology of ties.

SOCNET as an emergent intelligence gasped at your question about HCW students, but nonetheless... his students include, just off the top of my ahead and my sincere apologies to everyone I'm about to forget: DiMaggio, Leifer, Granovetter, Breiger, Boorman, Morrill, Bearman, Carley, Gould, Wellman, Chase, and lots more, including junior people like me, Matt Bothner, and Ann Mische. (I realize that not all of those listed were exclusively HCW students.)

I think it's safe to say that Harrison's stamp remains on all of these people, though there's probably no meaningful sense in which they're all doing Whitean sociology. In part this may be because I&C as a synthetic statement only came out a little over a decade ago, in part because it's hard-going (despite Collins' judicious blurb, in which he speaks of "memorable images, pungent wordings," etc.), and in part because Harrison is less of a proselytizer of a certain theory than an encourager of good ideas and smart people.

David Gibson



Jordi Comas wrote:
*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/  *****

As a relative novice, and a relative outsider to the graduate
school/professional association networks of network researchers, I liked
David's suggestion.

I would second the recommendation that useful intersections between White
and other topics or themes on SOCNET would be helpful and interesting to
read.  Has anyone deployed "stories" or "disciplines" in a research
context?  How does White's work link up to Giddens, Bourdieu, and the
Neo-Institutionalists?  How does his influence appear among his students
(an who are they?  Granovetter was one, yes?)?

I remember my first reaction when reading up on networks was elation at
finding _the_ theoretical statement about networks and then being puzzled
as to why it hadn't seemed to spawn a "school" of network theory.


Jordi



At 10:55 PM 9/27/2003 -0400, David Gibson wrote:
*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/  *****

Don,

Harrison's terminology is indeed idiosyncratic, despite the best effort
of his students to press him to straighten it out. (I remember one
article in which delegation is a subtype of delegation -- no, I didn't
make a typo.) I don't know of any precedent to his use of "discipline,"
but someone else may (and I don't have my copy of I&C handy to check for
clues). "Story," as I recall, sometimes carries its conventional
meaning, which at least serves as a starting point to understanding its
non-conventional usages. As for where Harrison's ideas came from, he
thinks highly of Nadel (The Theory of Social Structure), Goffman,
psychologists like Walter Mischel who dispute the traditional conception
of personality, and more recently, linguists like Silverstein (whom
Harrison describes as somewhat opaque, ironically enough) and Gumperz.
And he takes a lot from physics, though more by way of metaphors than
mathematical models, at least in I&C.

But I mostly write to address the issue of a listserv. While I imagine
Harrison would be flattered -- I don't believe he monitors SOCNET -- I
think that he would also view a listserv dedicated to him as rather too
claustrophobic and, frankly, cultish. I think a lot of the people who
are on this list would agree that his influence on them has been
tremendous, but what he's encouraged us to do is engage with interesting
ideas from wherever they come, rather than to spend vast amounts of time
trying to decipher his work. That being said, I should hope that
whatever you find most useful in I&C could be productively raised on
SOCNET, which would be a nice change from emails from people entirely
new to network analysis and wondering whether anyone's thought to
measure centrality, etc.

David Gibson

Don Steiny wrote:

*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/  *****

Hi,

       After Mark Granovetter suggested I read Identity and Control twice
(in both senses) I made a determined effort and have gotten through it
the first time.  It has given me a whole new perspective on networks and
reading it was a wonderful experience, but I feel like I missed more than
I got.  I have a couple of questions.

1.  His terminology seems ideosyncratic.  Is there a precident for
   using "discipline" the way he does?   How about "story?"

2.  I have been looking up some of the key authors he refers to and reading
   them.   For instance, Eric Leifer's work related to White gives "ties"
   a whole different meaning than how I had been thinking of them.  White
   refers to Erving Goffman frequently and I am reading some of his stuff.
   It seems to me that Goffman, at least, is "symbolic interactionism"
   subdivision of sociology (I may be off base about this, I am just
learning).
   What would be some other stuff to read to get the big picture of where
   White is coming from?

3.  I would like to start a listserv to discuss White.  In fact, I already
   have, but there is no one subscribed to it but me.  I talked to Mark
   Granovetter and he said the he and 4 of his best graduate students
   read a chapter of White every week or two and then got together and
   disucssed it.  I have learned a lot from listservs on CS Peirce and
   Hayek, I am wondering if there would be enough interest in White?

   Just in case sign up at: http://www.isnae.org/mailman/listinfo/white/

-Don
--
Don Steiny - Central Coast Angel Network - www.ccangels.net
Institute for Social Network Analysis of the Economy - www.isnae.org
 125 Mission St #3 - Santa Cruz, CA 95060 - 831.471.1671 - fax: 831.471.1670

_____________________________________________________________________
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.

--
David Gibson
Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
Harvard University
564 William James Hall
33 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Voice: (617) 495-3825
Fax: (617) 496-5794

_____________________________________________________________________
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.

Jordi Comas
Visiting Assistant Professor
Management
Bucknell University
570 577-3161
[log in to unmask]

"There is nothing so practical as a good theory."  Kurt Lewin

_____________________________________________________________________
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.


--
David Gibson
Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
Harvard University
536 William James Hall
33 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Voice: (617) 495-3825
Fax: (617) 496-5794

http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/soc/faculty/gibson/

Jordi Comas
Visiting Assistant Professor
Management
Bucknell University
570 577-3161
[log in to unmask]

"There is nothing so practical as a good theory."  Kurt Lewin