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


I wonder if it is a bit hopeful to compare a network diagram to a cat
scan or X-ray...which may have inherent meaning.  In nature, at this
wavelength, this is a recording of particles, etc.  I am not sure
"social" can have inherent meaning.  Networks might.  Social networks, I

I am not just trying to hammer on the social construction of SNA, but
that it is inherently perspective-based--there are no networks--only
DEFINITIONS of relationships.  Someone calls the shots--is the decider
at the risk of sounding like our current president here in the US.  

It seems to me that the less description is used, the less valid the
research because we cannot understand the biases of selection as well.  

As such, I would nominate as the best SNA book of the last 10
years...Aihwa Ong's "Flexible Citizenship" (1999/Duke UP).  My guess is
that is what SNA research will likely look like in the future.  In it,
she begins to point out what it means to use identity and external
perception as part of an ontology and to act a certain way--as
Chinese--outside borders.  In short, she describes how social networks
arise in one context--not unlike Claude Fischer a generation before.
Funny that a similar book was not written about the British.

Ryan Lanham      

-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Valdis Krebs
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 5:50 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Recommender systems

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

I'm glad you like to type... I don't, so I will be brief.

I don't think we disagree... but it is hard to tell from your   l    
o   o   o   o  n  g    post!  ;-)
* we look at attributes of nodes and multiplex ties between them...  
we filter the views with whatever variables make sense for this analysis
* yes, networks can be sliced multiple ways and are... but some  
patterns seem to repeat... clusters, core/peripheries, brokers,  
isolates, etc.
* yes, a network map has no inherent meaning... it is a talking  
document to help those interested make sense of what is happening
* just like an x-ray or cat-scan are not perfect tools, they are  
useful... as is SNA facilitated by an experienced person


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.