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Steve Borgatti offered a very good summary of the developments that are associated with SNA and its 'unfortunate' label. I would agree with everything apart from the statement that there is a theory. 

 

Have we completed building the (social) network theory that deals with social actors including organisations, institutions, managers and firms?

What about inter-organisational relations, business partnerships, strategic alliances, or shared assets of multinational corporations that are addressed by management/ strategy theorising?

What about economic theories that explain actor's behaviour, choices and relationships between economic actors?

What about complex and heterogeneous networks (close systems, open systems) that are composed of individual human actors, technological devices, and cultural conventions (rules)?

I am not sure there is a coherent theory there. Complacency with what SNA is may not be the best way forward.

 

If we talk about a 'paradigm' it is the Network (thinking) paradigm which is shared with the physicists, biologists, chemists and mathematicians, electronic engineers, etc., and which comes with the assumptions of interconnectedness and flow and attracts various methods of analysis.

I would not close off the discussion with any labels, as I believe, we need to go beyond the SNA label and we need to identify what we share in our 'network research'. Personally I am looking for complementarities of methods and theories. 

 

Emanuela Todeva

________________________________

From: Social Networks Discussion Forum on behalf of Steve Borgatti
Sent: Fri 06/01/2006 16:03
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: SNA is not a method



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I think the name social network ANALYSIS is unfortunate. It helps focus
attention on the methodology, which is already salient because it is so
powerful but also so daunting to learn.

To my mind, network research constitutes a whole field of scientific
inquiry. It is distinguished first and foremost by the subject matter --
what we study -- which is networks. Thus, its data and therefore data
collection methods are unique. And with the dyadic data come distinctive
analytical methodologies, complete with concepts (e.g., paths) and measures
(e.g., centrality, density) and statistical models (e.g., ergm models), etc.
And finally, there is theory. Highly distinctive theory that matches the
distinctive phenomena being studied, and becomes a lens for understanding
many things. It is my contention that at least in organizational theory,
every major theoretical perspective today is fundamentally relational, a
huge shift from the individualist, actor attribute-based explanations that
dominated 50 years ago.

Steve.

Steve Borgatti
Professor & Chair, Organization Studies Dept.
Boston College
Tel: +1 978 456 7356; Fax: +1 978 456 7373
E-mail: [log in to unmask]

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
>Behalf Of Dr. Timothy R. Huerta
>Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2006 4:06 PM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: [SOCNET] SNA is not a method
>
>*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
>Prosperous new years everyone!
>
>I've always thought of SNA more akin to statistics. Many would argue that
>statistics suffers from many of these same problems. It involves a set of
>tools used by many disciplines and as a result, doesn't really have a
>disciplinary home. Yes, I can hear this same conversation happening in that
>context.
>
>Is statistics, method? Yes. But is that all it is? No.
>
>Tim
>
>> From: "E.Todeva" <[log in to unmask]>
>> Reply-To: "E.Todeva" <[log in to unmask]>
>> Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2006 19:15:48 -0000
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Conversation: SNA is not a method
>> Subject: Re: SNA is not a method
>>
>> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>>
>> Dear Barry,
>>
>>
>>
>> Knowing the legacy of your contributions I understand why you would like
>to
>> defend this position. But maybe we need to re-think this.
>>
>>
>>
>> What about calling 'Network Analysis' a paradigm that incorporates:
>>
>> 'social network analysis' with
>>
>> 'business network analysis',
>>
>> 'actor-network theory', and other methods / approaches / methodologies
>for
>> network analysis.
>>
>>
>>
>> Can we go beyond interconnected human beings, to interconnected
>organisations
>> and business units, and even heterogeneous systems of interconnected
>people,
>> organisations, institutions, assets/resources, technological/cultural
>> artefacts... My social capital is not only my social contacts, and I
>hardly
>> could capitalise on all potential social contacts that I have through
>SOCNET
>> (for example).
>>
>>
>>
>> Emanuela Todeva
>>
>> University of Surrey, UK
>>
>> ________________________________
>>
>> From: Social Networks Discussion Forum on behalf of Barry Wellman
>> Sent: Thu 05/01/2006 18:15
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: SNA is not a method
>>
>>
>>
>> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>>
>> Dear Sergio Romero (and others),
>>
>> Your homework assignment is to write 100 times:
>>
>> "Social Network Analysis is not 'a method' but a paradigm.
>> A way of looking at the social world and analyzing it."
>>
>> To see it as only a method is to miss the whole point of SNA.
>>
>>  Barry, INSNA founder
>>  _____________________________________________________________________
>>
>>   Barry Wellman         Professor of Sociology        NetLab Director
>>   wellman at chass.utoronto.ca  http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman
>>
>>   Centre for Urban & Community Studies          University of Toronto
>>   455 Spadina Avenue    Toronto Canada M5S 2G8    fax:+1-416-978-7162
>>              To network is to live; to live is to network
>>  _____________________________________________________________________
>>
>> _____________________________________________________________________
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>>
>> _____________________________________________________________________
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>_____________________________________________________________________
>SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
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_____________________________________________________________________
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_____________________________________________________________________
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.