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

Barry Wellman's note to Yang stated the following:

...the most important thing to remember is that SNA is
a perspective -- dare I say a paradigm -- rather than a set of methods,
quant or qual.

As an aside, in a too quickly written note originally referencing this
query, I inadvertently mentioned "Wasserstein" rather than Wasserman &
Faust.  I apologize to Professor Wasserman.  It was a confused reference
linked to a prior life in the financial markets where Wasserstein was an
important name for me.

But the discussion of SNA as paradigm opened by Don Steiny and now
elaborated by Professor Wellman reminds me of a small collection of (at
least to me) similar or sometimes overlapping worldviews now underway that
inhabit related social spaces.  I will try to use only those with existing
articles in Wiki as a basis of the set so that people can easily explore if
they wish.  I have been collecting this set and trying to sort out
differences and similarities of discipline and category.  It is a confusing
and interesting hobby.

1. Social network analysis

2. Complex adaptive systems

3. Industrial ecology

4. Communities of practice
5. Organizational learning

6. Activity theory   

7. Actor-network theory

8. Communication theory

9. Graph theory

10. Group theory

11. Biotic communities

12. Food webs

13. Community ecology

14. Ecosystems ecology

15. Systems ecology

16. Energetics

17. Cybernetics

18. Sociocybernetics

19. Semiotics

20. Network theory

21. Bounded rationality

Each has experts, theories, often journals and other trappings of
"discipline."  One could probably label a dissertation at a top university
with any 5 sub-elements of this group and "make sense" of it--indeed, even
achieve acclaim.

Questions I sometimes ponder:

1. What is this a set of?

2. What are the elements and how do they differ conceptually?  

3. Could one rank order the "rigor" of these 21 or of the many missing

4. How do these elements change over time, interact, merge, diverge, and
govern themselves?

5. Is the set infinite?  Why or why not?

6. Is science a mansion of many houses or is there inherently many sciences?

7. How does an idea of importance within one element get noticed in the
others?  Why?

8. What causes the death of an element?  

9. What is happening when a graduate student or research ropes together a
new subset of the elements?  

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.