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Gentlemen,
    I hope this does not come across wrong.  This dialogue is clogging my inbox.  Can this discussion be taken private?  Thank you for your consideration.
Matt

________________________________

From: Social Networks Discussion Forum on behalf of Ryan Lanham
Sent: Mon 1/8/2007 7:05 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Networks and conformity



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Don:

Your statement implies some homogeneous field, some "place"
where something called "organizations and social structures" are
"melting" (whatever that could possibly mean).

Ryan:

Robert Boyd and Peter Richerson might say we evolved cultures that could
record learning--whether real or false, and that led to natural
selection--cultural evolution--a rare but accelerating phenomenon I believe
they claim. 

Perhaps social heuristics are now innate.  A sort of advantage evolved from
group interaction.  We social theorize because it helps out or did help out
before.

My heuristics are a basis for hypotheses and life decisions.  But analogies
and metaphors have a long history in science--some argue it is the central
way ideas go forward.  Theodore Brown is a science studies source on this.

Melting might mean nothing to you or to others.  Such is the risk of
metaphor.  Complexity is rarely defined yet we use it all the time.  For
that matter, it has become reasonably clear to me that there is a fairly
rough consensus meaning to the term "social network" or "organization."
Humans are quite good at coping with interpreting the symbolic.  I am bit
rusty on their book, but again, I think Boyd and Richerson claim that is
evolved culture.  

So no, I know of no homogenous place or simple rules that solve real issues.
I have only speculation and guesses...heuristics and metaphors that lead to
actions or tests or, if expressed clearly and rigorously, perhaps something
that rises to the title of theory.  And my speculation is privileged only by
the fact that you are reading it.  That used to be reserved to what was, I
guess, a more identity-laden network. 

Ryan Lanham   
 

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