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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:

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>        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:
>Don Steiny - Central Coast Angel Network -
> Institute for Social Network Analysis of the Economy -
>  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
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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 ( To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.