Print

Print


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/