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I would add to this by suggesting that a relation cannot be defined without also
defining a node.

A node is a distinct and bounded measurable entity (often referred to as ego or an
agent or an actor). Nodes can be people, books, businesses, countries, you name
it. If it's discrete and non-trivial then it works. Oceans, for example, wouldn't
work by this defition. They are continuous, not contiguous.

A relation is a means to specifiy a specific association between *particular*
nodes. For example, in any classroom there are usually some students who know each
other and who hang out with each other. If you wanted a pretty general structure,
"does student A know student B" would do it. If you wanted a more specific
structure, as is the case for a lot of research, you have to ask a more detailed
question (i.e. look for a more specifc association - "Does student A play sports
with student B").

Associations between *general* nodes is a different matter. I.e. I like electronic
music and surely someone else on this list likes electronic music. You could
associate us using a cluster analysis, as is the case with market research. But in
terms of structure (particularly social structure), our similar affinity would not
imply a relation.

Relations can be of four 'valences':
Symmetric binary - A and B know each other
Assymetric binary - A knows of B but B doesn't know of A
Symmetric valued - A and B meet 3 times a week.
Asymmetric valued - A has called B 4 times last week but B has only returned 2 of
A's calls.

Hope that helps.

Take Care,
BERNiE

Bernie Hogan
Ph.D. Student
Department of Sociology
NetLab, Knowledge Media Design Institute
University of Toronto

Quoting Paul B Hartzog <[log in to unmask]>:

> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/  *****
>
> On Wed, 2004-08-11 at 04:07, Emilie Marquois wrote:
> > Hello Socnetters,
> >
> > As I read more about the social networks analysis, a few questions arise
> > about the characteristics of a relation in a social network (type,
> > content, nature, etc.).
> >
> > I would really appreciate if you could help me to best understand what
> are
> > the characteristics of a relation in a social network, and which ones are
> > generally given in studies.
> >
> > Many thanks,
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Emilie Marquois
> >
>
> I'm sure others here can give you a more detailed answer, but for me the
> key attribute is whether the relation is binary or valued.  A binary
> measure is 1/0 (on/off), so for example the act of being related to
> someone (father/mother/etc) is binary; you either are or are not
> related.
>
> When you start talking about valued relations however, you are simply
> introducing a continuum instead of a binary measure.  You could do this
> with family relations which would get you near<--->distant relations
> mapped on a valued continuum.
>
> To some degree, how you choose to measure relations is something you not
> only need to decide up front, but also need to be very clear about WHY
> you make the decision you do.
>
> my 2 cents ;-)
>
> -Paul
>
> -----------------------------------------------
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> -----------------------------------------------
> The Universe is made up of stories, not atoms.
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>
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