*****  To join INSNA, visit  *****

> 	Perhaps (and this is addressed to Moses as well) the division between
> academia and business is a false one.

I cannot believe I am alone is seeing the irony in the seeming need of social
network analysis to be organizational.  Some people get this out it, some
people that--just like governments, just like societies.
It isn't a movement or an organization or even a discipline.  Nor
is it a field.  By the way, this is a general trend of the times--things are
becoming dis-integrated.  You hear people in government whining about "hollow
government" etc.  Ten years ago all you heard about in business was
"outsourcing."  It is inevitable.  Organizations are not efficient any more
which should
be a core theoretical area of SNA--but strangely it isn't.

At some point networks may not be efficient--depending on the types of ends
people want.  According to economists, we all ought to be independent
contractors in all things all the time.  People only organize or network
because they think they can be somehow safer, better, stronger, leaner, more
communal, etc.
And sometimes things are just random and are given meaning after they happen.

The metaphors of outreach and "high and low" theory etc. are elements of people
looking for funding--building infrastructure--gaining measurements and returns
as if they were running organizations.  These are commercial (organizational)
Science would not care much about that stuff.  Physics didn't go forward
because someone organized it.  It went forward because people got interested in
certain types of problems and that required organizations.
Businesses get interested in problems but they by
and large return pretty quickly to the problem of getting people to give up
cash for some thing in a unit of time.

It seems to me that the business people are opening up all sorts of avenues for
research for those interested in problems.  I am no saint, and I love
recognition as much as the next guy, but what does it hurt?  Does anyone really
SNA has developed foundational knowledge that will be used in 20 much less 100

The killer irony of "social science" is that it conflates organizational
objectives (the social) with
attempts at permanent knowledge (science).  That's like a final theory of
marketing.  To me it is nonsensical.

Some signs that business and academia would either be a threat or help to each

1. They could identify the top X (say 10) problems facing SNA
2. They had a common theory of motivation for forming/growing/killing networks.
3. They had similar theories about how network businesses will grow, evolve, and
4. Their programmers were stealing code from each other or other technologies.
5. They had ways of agreeing when problems were solved.

None of that seems present now.  There are some notable efforts perhaps in each.
 But it
just doesn't look to me like a field or discipline.  I think SunBelt was/is an
The new businesses threaten the legitimacy of that (perhaps?).  I have no theory
explaining that.

Ryan Lanham

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.