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***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** Mario,

I am very much looking forward to reading and learning from this book. I note, however, a community-networks focus both in the case in question and the broader argument that, "the practice and structure of the churches, colleges, firms, gyms, childcare centers, and schools in which people happen to participate routinely matter more than their
deliberate 'networking.'" In contrast, the networks that I am studying, composed of members of winning teams in a major Tokyo ad contest, involve a different set of dynamics rooted in the need for professional project teams to bring together individuals with different professional skills and distinct personalities to spur creativity. In this context, the balance between team members being similar enough to work together yet different enough to avoid falling into comfortable ruts is a delicate and much debated one. Too many, too different prima donnas, and teams fall apart. Everybody on the same wavelength, and the work is less than stellar. Great creative directors are those who not only cultivate broad networks that embody a rich variety of talent but are also able to assemble the right people to produce outstanding work in relation to particular client needs. Here, too, conventional notions of networks as embodiments of social capital seem too thin to do justice to what is going on. But the idea of opportunities created by everyday routines does not, on the face of it, work much better. 

It should be apparent that I am just beginning to think through these problems. Any thoughts that you or anyone else here might have would be most welcome.

John

On Wed, Jun 3, 2009 at 10:01 PM, Mario Small <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
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Thanks, Sam.

I haven't done much on these particular processes at the neighborhood
level. The closest thing is a 2007 paper on how much neighborhood
conditions can account for racial differences in the number of ties of
certain types that actors have:
http://home.uchicago.edu/~mariosmall/documents/Small_SSQ_2007.pdf

I think the second question deals with very interesting issues. Erin
Jacobs, Rebekah Massengill, and I just published a paper in Social
Forces on this topic. We conducted interviews with key players in a
particular subset of organizations in New York City, developed some
hypotheses about how their actions should affect the relationship
between neighborhood conditions and organizational networks, and then
tested these hypotheses based on a representative survey of
organizations (childcare centers). Click here:
http://home.uchicago.edu/~mariosmall/documents/SmallJacobsMassengill_2008.pdf

I would be very interested in hearing of other works in this area.

Best,

Mario




Sam Friedman wrote:
Mario, this sounds like a wonderful book.
Have you done any work on the related issues of similar processes at the neighborhood level?
Or on the causal pathways that shape the organizational or neighborhood structures and processes that shape the network processes?
best
sam


Sam Friedman
National Development and Research Institutes
71 West 23d Street, 8th floor
New York, NY 10010
USA
1 212 845 4467
Fax 1 917 438 0894
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 >>> Mario Small <[log in to unmask]> 06/02/09 7:34 PM >>>
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Dear colleagues,

A book that may be of interest was just released. A critique of social
capital theory, it examines how the institutional conditions of routine
organizations affect network formation.


Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life
Mario Luis Small, 2009
Oxford University Press
http://tinyurl.com/laomzd


 From the publisher:
Social capital theorists have shown that some people do better than
others in part because they enjoy larger, more supportive, or otherwise
more useful networks. But why do some people have better networks than
others? *Unanticipated Gains* argues that the practice and structure of
the churches, colleges, firms, gyms, childcare centers, and schools in
which people happen to participate routinely matter more than their
deliberate "networking."

Exploring the experiences of New York City mothers whose children were
enrolled in childcare centers, this book examines why a great deal of
these mothers, after enrolling their children, dramatically expanded
both the size and usefulness of their personal networks. Whether, how,
and how much the mother's networks were altered--and how useful these
networks were--depended on the apparently trivial, but remarkably
consequential, practices and regulations of the centers. The structure
of parent-teacher organizations, the frequency of fieldtrips, and the
rules regarding drop-off and pick-up times all affected the mothers'
networks. Relying on scores of in-depth interviews with mothers,
quantitative data on both mothers and centers, and detailed case studies
of other routine organizations, Small shows that how much people gain
from their connections depends substantially on institutional conditions
they often do not control, and through everyday processes they may not
even be aware of.

Emphasizing not the connections that people make, but the context in
which they are made, *Unanticipated Gains* presents a major new
perspective on social capital and on the mechanisms producing social
inequality.








--
_________________________________
Mario Luis Small
Associate Professor of Sociology and the College
University of Chicago
1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

http://home.uchicago.edu/~mariosmall

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_________________________________

Mario Luis Small
Associate Professor of Sociology and the College
University of Chicago
1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

http://home.uchicago.edu/~mariosmall

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John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324
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