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Dear Tobias
I obviously concur with Steve on network evolution and like to further point to a methodological issue relating to boundaries.
Ideally you define your network based on a boundary for the type of characteristics actors share.  This borrows from classic definitions of elite or social group membership.  To maintain a rigorous context of comparative work you would then proceed to 'map' all those elements of behaviour that make your boundary a valid one.  I.e. separate your group from the wider population.  Relational ties are an essential aspect of that picture but any evidence of clusters or isolates is a fundamental piece of evidence.  Network analysis preoccupation with clusters in particular bears evidence to that.  All good textbooks on the topic like Wasserman and Faust (1994) or Scott (2001) give a good background to the theory.
So, in my view, you first define your boundaries and then report the ties, or absence of, within that social context.
Hope that helps
Dimitris Christopoulos


-----Original Message-----From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Steve BorgattiSent: 03 May 2005 14:03To: [log in to unmask]: Re: RFC about Basic Network Definitions

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I do not see a contradiction here. The definition is really a set of nodes(actors) together with a set of edges (ties) that connect pairs of actors. The definition does not specify how these ties are distributed across the set of actors. In addition, the set of ties can be empty, as when a group of strangers meet. As time passes, more and more ties are formed, and the network becomes gradually less fragmented until all nodes belong to the same component. If you do not allow networks to be fragmented, it is difficult to talk about the evolution of a network.
I tend to reserve the term "different network" for different social relations (e.g., friendship and advice), or for the networks obtained by taking separate surveys of different groups, as when I collect network data separately within top management teams of 40 companies (ala the work of Nick Athanassiou). The latter case could be viewed as components but we don't do that because the respondents were not given the opportunity to report ties between the organizations.
Steve
Steve BorgattiOrg Studies, Boston [log in to unmask]

>-----Original Message----->From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On >Behalf Of Mueller-Prothmann>Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2005 06:30>To: [log in to unmask]>Subject: [SOCNET] RFC about Basic Network Definitions>>*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****>>Hi all,>>a very basic question and request for comments:>>Commonly, a social network is defined as a set of individual persons>(actors) that are connected through social relationships. On the other >hand, social network analysis (as an empirical method) includes models >of isolates (single actors that are not connected to the overall>network) or independent components (multiple actors that are connected >but not to the main component). Concepts of isolates and independent >components (also known as islands) are a contradiction to the above >cited network definition. In that case, we should rather speak of >different networks (than of one single network consisting of different>components) or we must modify our network definition.>>Does anybody know any literature that addresses this contradiction? Or >do you have any suggestions how to overcome it?>>All suggestions and comments are very welcome!>>Thank you! Best wishes>>Tobias>>-->Tobias Müller-Prothmann>Dipl.-Soz.>>Freie Universitaet Berlin>Institute for Media and Communication Studies>Department of Information Science>>Malteserstr. 74-100>D-12249 Berlin>>Tel. +49 (0)30 838 70854>Fax. +49 (0)30 838 70722>Email: mailto:[log in to unmask]>WWW: http://kommwiss.fu-berlin.de/mp.html>>_____________________________________________________________________>SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social >network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an >email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE >SOCNET in the body of the message.
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