***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** Wow, this keeps getting more and more interesting! It is really amazing how many definitions "social" and "network" can have. As Emanuela noted early on, to work with these phenomena as human experiences we first to set aside formal definitions such as node and edge and their binary or other coding. We need to think of the social from the standpoint of human experience and concepts describing that way of knowing. Within that realm, in my opinion, we can solve the definitional problems through a set theory of three concentric circles: social, relational, Societal (going further we could add the SocioEnvironmental and SocioCosmic or etc.). The central most narrow one is the "social" in its narrowest sense, which is the classic sociological definition used by Moreno and Bott and most social networkers -- in this definition, social = "having some familiarity with the personality and behavioral characteristics of another specific human being and knowing and interacting with that person in some circumstances." That may not be entirely adequate and perhaps some one can define it better, but I think it gets at the basic idea. The next larger circle is "relational" in which people (or if we care to include non-human existences, them too) have a wide range of interactions which can be social or not. For instance, a pilot dropping a bomb on an unseen and unknown enemy. While not social in the narrow definition just described, both the bomber and the bombed, and if we wish to include it, the bomb itself, all relate to the mutual conceptual and emotional and otherwise meaning-laden category of "war." The relationship is not "social" in the narrow sense; rather it is impersonally coercive, destructive, terrifying, and destructive of all social sensitivities of knowing in the narrow sense. But this destructive relationship still exists within to the wider circle of the Social in the larger sense. Aside from relationships, where things act upon each other in some way, socially or impersonally, the Social also includes things which do not act upon each other, which are not in relationship. For instance, before the Conquistadores, the Aztecs and Spain had not been in any kind of relationship, social or destructive or etc., but those two "units" both existed within the larger Social of the planet. Does this definitional set theory help resolve our definitional chaos? (Fat chance!) :) Jeffrey Broadbent Abe Fellow Visiting Researcher, Faculty of Law, Keio University Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Institute of Global Studies 909 Social Science Building University of Minnesota 267 19th Avenue South Minneapolis, Minnesota USA 55455 Tel. 612-624-1828 Fax. 612- 624-7020 Email: [log in to unmask] Webpage: http://www.soc.umn.edu/faculty/broadbent.html -----Original Message----- From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Valdis Krebs Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2008 9:54 AM To: [log in to unmask] Subject: Re: social organization = social networks? ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** For those frustrated with this discussion... it gets worse! I just returned from a business conference where the terms "social network(s)" and "social networking" seemed to be morphing every hour. I think most of the business execs left that conference very confused and thinking that social networks were invented only a few years ago when MySpace and Facebook crawled out of the ocean. I tried to bring a voice of reason/perspective/history to the discussion but fear I was out-numbered by the "Web 2.0 uber alles" crowd. And another thing... "social network analysis" is now "social networkING analysis". ;-) Valdis On Apr 17, 2008, at 3:01 AM, Loet Leydesdorff wrote: >> I won't elaborate here, but I reject the thesis that social >> categories have >> any meaning independent of the social relations which they >> both represent and shape. > _____________________________________________________________________ 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. _____________________________________________________________________ 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.